Los Angeles is now the largest U.S. city to ban plastic bags

Rite aid plastic bag

Following a 13 to 1 vote in the Los Angeles City Council yesterday, the city will become the largest United States metropolis to enact a ban on plastic bags and add a 10 cent fee for each paper bag sold. Under the measure, the ban will undergo a four-month environmental study and then a final vote and signature from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to help curb large carbon footprints.

The ban is set to go into effect July 1, with the estimated number of 2.7 billion plastic bags saved annually from being thrown out. Large and small stores alike will have 12 months to phase out the use of plastic bags with the exemption of plastic bags used in the produce department of supermarkets. Plastic garbage bags for trash bins and dog waste will still be legal.

“This day has been a long time in coming,” says councilman Paul Koretz. “This is a historic vote making Los Angeles the biggest city in the nation in doing away with an environmental problem.”

Los Angeles joins San Francisco, San Jose, and Long Beach as California cities that have enacted a ban on plastic bags. Seattle City County also passed the same ban last December with the same tentative date of July 1 for the rules to go into regulation. Of course, this is nothing compared to Hawaii, which announced last week that it will be the first state to entirely ban plastic bags by July 2015.

The lone vote against the Los Angeles plastic bag ban comes from Councilman Bernard Parks who worried about food safety with using paper bags if consumers forget to bring their own reusable tote.

“What concerns me also is a few years ago we told people to stop using paper bags so we could save the trees,” Parks said. “And the plastics industry came in with their bags. Now we’re telling people not to use plastic bags. What I wonder is, if we are trading environmental problems for health problems.”

Koretz argues that the “red herring” would be the only food that could get contaminated, and there are exceptions to keeping food safe as one would still place produce in thin plastic bags. He hopes the move will encourage other major cities to follow suit in a fight for environmental awareness.

Image Credit: Flickr / katerha

Cars

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.
Cars

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.
Smart Home

A school district subsidizes a tiny home community for teachers

The lack of affordable housing in Arizona's Vail school district prompted the plan for a community of tiny homes reserved for educators. Other cities in the U.S. use the tiny abodes for homeless and economically disadvantaged people.
Emerging Tech

Los Angeles subway to become first in the U.S. to use body scanners

Los Angeles is set to become the first city in the U.S. to use body scanners on its subway. The machines are portable and quick to set up, and can check around 2,000 people an hour without causing lines or delays for passengers.
Smart Home

Ward off porch pirates with these best outdoor security cameras

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Product Review

“World’s Smartest Camera” is let down by not-so-smart omissions

Ooma Butterfleye’s high quality, auto-adaptive imaging, wire-free operation and free cloud storage delights, but there are some flaws to be aware of, including a lack of proper night vision.
Smart Home

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Johnson Controls today opened the doors for consumers to buy Glas, the company's answer to Nest and Ecobee, the Honeywell Lyric, and basically every other company that thought it would turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear.
Smart Home

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Microsoft and Amazon announced a public preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. U.S. customers can now open Cortana with Alexa and vice versa. Basic functions such as calendars and shopping lists are available with the preview.
Product Review

Philips Hue’s Color Ambience makes smart home lighting simple and stylish

It’s not the cheapest smart lighting available, but for those seeking style and sophistication, it’s certainly the best.
Smart Home

The Glas thermostat is now available and works with Cortana, Alexa, and Google

Microsoft just debuted its very own smart thermostat (the first that it's created), and of course, it can be controlled via voice with Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Home

How to set up your Lenovo Smart Display

Here's how to set up your Lenovo Smart Display, including what information you need to provide to the Home app and how to choose the right Google Assistant settings for your new smart screen.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Smart Home

Fraudulent sales of home alarm systems are on the rise nationwide

According to a new consumer survey from the Consumer Federation of America, there are increasing reports of bad actors using scare tactics and manipulation to sell fraudulent alarm systems.
Smart Home

Kroger supermarket chain tests driverless grocery deliveries in Arizona

Kroger and autonomous delivery innovator Nuro began a pilot program in Scottdale, Arizona, for grocery home deliveries with Prius cars to test the self-driving concept. The first tests do not use the purpose-built Nuro vehicle.