Crime & Justice

Court sides with bag makers, rules Manhattan Beach can't outlaw plastic bags

A pile of plastic bags await recycling.
A pile of plastic bags await recycling.
evelynishere/Flickr CC

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Manhattan Beach can't stop supermarkets and other businesses from handing out plastic bags — at least not yet. A federal appeals court today released a ruling that sides with plastic bag makers and sellers.

Nearly two years ago, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted to ban plastic bags. Supporters noted the bags are a drag on the environment, ending up in storm drains and on the beach.

But the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition sued, saying the city didn't do a proper environmental report on the impact of the bags. They argue that using more paper bags could be even worse for the environment.

A lower court backed the bag makers and retailers. And now, an appeals court has upheld that ruling.

In a written ruling, the U.S. 2nd District Court of Appeal says it's not weighing in on "paper or plastic." But it says the city must do a proper environmental report before it can legally implement a plastic bag ban.

Other cities, like Malibu and San Francisco, have already banned plastic bags. Los Angeles County is studying the environmental impact of a possible countywide ban.