Huntington Beach ban on plastic grocery bags starts Nov. 1

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Beginning Nov. 1 you'll need to bring your own grocery bags to shop in Huntington Beach or pay 10 cents for a paper bag. The Orange County city is the latest in California to ban single-use plastic grocery bags.

Legislative efforts to pass a statewide ban have failed several times in Sacramento.

But that hasn't prevented cities and counties from passing their own laws.

The Huntington Beach City Council approved its Reusable Bag Ordinance in March. It prohibits most retailers, from grocery and drug stores to convenience stores and farmer's markets, from handing out plastic carryout bags. The ordinance allows stores to provide a recyclable paper bag to customers - but there's a 10 cent charge.  

Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman said the goal is to reduce plastic pollution along roadways and in the ocean. 

"Sailors report that the most common kind of trash they see are plastic bags because they float along the surface where animals mistake them for food and eat them," said Boardman. "They get into the animals digestive system and block it, and the animal starves." 

Boardman said the city and environmental groups have given away free reusable grocery bags over the past year in anticipation of the ban.  

More than 80 counties and cities in California have banned plastic bags. A bag ban starts Jan. 1 in Los Angeles. 

During the 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy reports that plastic bags, along with food wrappers and beverage containers, were among the top 10 items collected.

Environment California, which urges a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, said state residents throw away 123,000 tons of plastic bags each year. A statewide ban proposed by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, was defeated in May.

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