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Some U.S. cities considering ban on plastic shopping bags

A number of U.S. cities are considering a ban on plastic shopping bags, as they are seen by many officials as wasteful to the environment and a costly burden to waste disposal organizations. Some of these cities include: Los Angeles, California; Boulder, Colorado; Newport, Oregon, and King County, Washington.

"We conduct over 400 beach cleanups a year and the single biggest item we pick up are single-use bags," Kristen James, water quality director at environmental group Heal the Bay, told the Contra Costa Times. "It is not only the oceans that suffer. The bags are a major contributor to urban blight. The environmental impact issues are real and carry a real cost to the city."

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works voted 4-0 in favor of the ban, but it awaits an environmental study and the approval of the City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If it meets such approval it will go into effect next year.

A number of major retailers, such as Whole Foods, have begun offering custom reusable bags as an alternative to plastic. Such a trend may also be a boon for marketing purposes, as consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability issues.