Marine Health

Councilmember Koretz was the author of the historic motion that banned plastic grocery bags in Los Angeles. Working hard with local environmental organizations led by Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation and supported by more than 25 neighborhood councils, Councilmember Koretz made the case that these plastic bags polluted our neighborhoods, our rivers and oceans and killed our wildlife in the process.

He was proud of how easily the City’s residents made the simple habit change to reusable bags, and by reducing plastic waste, we have also reduced the use of the climate-polluting fossil fuels that created the bags.

On January 1, 2014, the day that the plastic bag ban went into force, Councilmember Koretz volunteered to bag groceries in free reusable bags given away at the CD5 Vons grocery store on Sepulveda Blvd.

The plastic bag ban has saved an estimated 2.33 billion plastic bags per year from the waste stream in Los Angeles, leaving us with much cleaner neighborhood streets. As seen in these photos taken before the ban on the Los Angeles River near Sepulveda Basin, the number that have stayed out of our rivers and oceans is immeasurably large and significant.

Grassroots and Constituent Involvement Was Key

Celebration of Plastic Bag Ban

Bye-bye plastic bags!

Andy Shrader Clean Seas activists

Andy Shrader was hired from among the Clean Seas activists to be our Director of Environmental Affairs.

Grocery Store Plastic Bag Ban

On January 1, 2014, as the plastic bag ban went into effect in Los Angeles, Councilmember Koretz volunteered to bag groceries and hand out free reusable bags at the Vons on Sepulveda and National.

Grocery Store Reusable Bags

Constituents stopped by in support.

Lee Wallach Grocery Store

CD-5 constituents and fans of the ban like Lee Wallach from Fox Hills and…

Melissa Stroller Grocery Store

Melissa Stoller from Mar Vista, stopped by to say hello and lend their support.

By the end of the week, Vons and the other larger grocery stores had given away thousands of free reusable bags and received almost no complaints. Angelenos were ready and willing to do their part to keep their streets and rivers clean.

This is what we are helping to avoid

Plastic Bags Show Reduced Water Levels

Plastic bags signify a new low in the high water mark on the LA River near the Sepulveda Basin.

Plastic Bags in LA River

Plastic bags can even wreck a day of getting back to nature on the LA River.

Plastic Bags River

Plastic bags embedded in the river bank on the Los Angeles River near Sepulveda Basin.

Bottles in Lake

The Ballona Creek Garbage Patch beside Playa Vista, near where it dumps into Santa Monica Bay.

Heal the Bay Plastic Bag Ban Celebration

Heal the Bay Plastic Bag Ban celebration.

Healthy Watershed Award

For his work on this and many other watershed issues, Councilmember Koretz received the 2015 Healthy Watershed Award from the Council for Watershed Health.

Councilmember Koretz partnered with Green Vets LA, Homeboy Industries, LA Conservation Corps, CA Greenworks, Sustainable Works, Heal the Bay, Green Education, Inc., and Environment California to create reusable bags that were distributed for free to lower-income communities. Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio generously provided the funding for the project. Please read the LA Times story for more details.

We launched the effort with a press conference at Homeboy Industries, who, under the leadership of Father Gregory Boyle, puts to work at-risk and gang-involved youth. The Homeboy team silkscreened the bags.


Green Vets LA Making Reusable Bags

Green Vets LA, who provides on-the-job training to both injured and non-injured, possibly homeless combat Veterans, sewed the bags.

Reusable Bag Contest Details

Inspired by LA Times writer Patt Morrison’s editorial, Mayor Eric Garcetti sponsored a citywide logo contest to find the artwork that would adorn the bags.

Reusable Bag Contest Design Winner Presentation

The entries were voted on by Angelenos and the winning logo was created by graphic designer, Melodie Pisciotti.

Reusable Bag Debut

Here, Councilmember Koretz and the whole team showed up for the debut of the finished bags. Below, the finished bag and the informational inserts provided by Sustainable Works and Heal the Bay.

Reusable Bag Final Design
Food Choice Poster


Reusable Bag Giveaway Flyer