Business & Economy

LA County plastic grocery bag ban, 10-cent paper bag charge upheld

File: A plastic bag is caught in bushes outside a supermarket.
File: A plastic bag is caught in bushes outside a supermarket.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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Los Angeles County’s ban on plastic grocery bags has survived a court challenge from a bag manufacturer.

Back in 2010, L.A. County passed an ordinance which forbids stores in unincorporated areas from handing out plastic bags. The law also charges customers 10 cents a pop for paper bags, and that’s where one company says the county overreached.

Hilex Poly, a leading bag-maker in South Carolina, claims that the 10-cent fee is really a tax. That would mean that under California’s Prop 26, it takes a two-thirds vote in the state Legislature to adopt it.

The judge disagreed, pointing out that because the government gets none of the money, the fee can't be a tax. The dime fees all go straight to the stores' pockets.

L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina wrote the law. She declared the recent court ruling a huge victory.

Hilex Poly says the case is far from resolved. The company expects it to make its way through the higher courts.