News & Events

LA County Ban on Plastic Bags - Does it affect Restaurants and Carry Out Bags?

Letter from our president, Pete Grande:

November 16, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Today the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that prohibits convenience, grocery, liquor, and large drug stores from giving consumers free plastic bags. Stores that carry paper bags must offer bags with 40% PCR and charge the consumer 10 cents if they choose a paper bag. Summarized below is what is important for our customers and users of plastic bags to know:

  • The ordinance only affects grocery, liquor, and drug stores
  • The ordinance does not go into effect until July 2011
  • The ordinance does not affect retail stores or restaurants
  • There is no prohibition to produce or sell plastic bags for manufacturers and distributors

Approximately 1 million people live in the unincorporated areas of LA County. There are 88 actual cities in LA County and to date none of those cities have ordinances banning plastic bags. Manhattan Beach passed the first ordinance in 2008, but the ordinance was overturned by the LA Superior Court and the suspension of the ordinance was later upheld by the California Court of Appeals. Both courts agreed with us that the city had not satisfactorily performed a proper Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Manhattan Beach has appealed those rulings and the case is pending before the California Supreme Court.

Just like Manhattan Beach, the County was required to perform an EIR that objectively studied the issues before the Supervisors could pass any environmental ordinance. An EIR was prepared by the County but it was hardly objective or accurate. A legal challenge to the validity of the EIR will likely be filed due to the numerous exaggerations, myths, and failures to study significant environmental issues. Only one claim needs to be upheld for the courts to throw out the ordinance and require the County to prepare a new EIR.

Command Packaging ( testified at the hearing about potential job loss and the inaccuracies that continue to be perpetuated by government officials. More importantly Command employees testified that as an LA County company we already recycle plastic and produce environmentally superior bags, including a domestically manufactured reusable bag made from the recycled plastic. Our goal has always been to get the environmental truth publicized and work with government officials to craft legislation that will create environmentally friendly packaging without destroying American businesses. We will keep trying.

I brought two of my children today because I wanted them to see our democracy in action. It was an eye-opener for them considering the decision had been made prior to the public hearing (the celebratory press conference was actually held by the three Supervisors who voted for the ordinance before the public hearing took place). The icing on the cake was watching the so-called environmentalists testify that importing non-woven polypropylene (plastic) bags from China and destroying thousands of plastic manufacturing jobs in the U.S. was a small price to pay even if those imported bags contained lead and other toxic heavy metals!

The intent of this e-mail is to clarify what this ordinance means for our customers. We know that the media reports over the next several weeks will be full of misinformation. It is not designed to lobby any position. There will be time for that later. If you are unclear how this ordinance could affect you please don't hesitate to contact us. We will answer your questions or point you in the direction of where you can get the official information. These are challenging times for all US companies but we remain committed to keeping jobs in America by investing in ways to produce affordable, high-quality, and truly green, packaging.

Pete Grande
Command Packaging (

Comments (1)

  • Fran Reply

    I think recycling is a good thing for the environment. I have a question, plastic water bottles are put into plastic bags inside homes until brought out for the recycle bin or pail. If they are just dumped into the pails without plastic bags and a pail gets blown over on a strong windy day, bottles are blown all over the yard or street. Then they have to be picked up and some are missed. How will this be handled to prevent that? I usually take the plastic filled bags of water bottles to the recycle centers. Thank you.

    February 4, 2017 at 8:13 am

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