Shoppers in California use about 19 billion plastic bags each year, or about 600 bags per minute, according to the environmental watchdog group Californians Against Waste.
Many of those bags end up in storm drains, where they are carried out to sea and affect wildlife, while also choking landfills and littering streets.
Crews at Glendale’s Scholl Canyon Landfill work 24 hours a day collecting the light-weight plastic bags as they blow off trash trucks to prevent them from leaving the site, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.
City officials say the bags are also one of the largest sources of “wind-driven” litter in Glendale.
Councilman Bob Yousefian earlier this month called for a report exploring ways to cut down on the plastic bags. That report is scheduled to be released in mid-August.
“Some of the other cities were pioneers, and the world didn’t end, so why don’t we do that too?” Yousefian said.
Citing City Hall’s recent pursuit of “green” building standards, community gardens, solar projects and other eco-friendly programs, Yousefian argued it made sense to join the path of other cities.
“If we’re going green in this city, this is another way we can help Mother Nature,” he said.
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to ban plastic bags in the city’s supermarkets and retail stores by 2010 if the state fails to adopt a 25-cent fee for every request.
Other cities, like Malibu, have adopted outright bans for grocery stores, restaurants, city facilities and other businesses, with violations fetching fines of up to $1,000.
“I think it’s worth looking at,” Councilman Frank Quintero said. “I’m interested in getting all the information.”