The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, setting the stage to become the largest American city to date to implement such a measure.
The 13-1 vote kicks off a process that will include a four-month environmental review, a second vote to formally adopt an ordinance, and a six-month grace period for the roughly 7,500 grocers within the limits of the second-largest U.S. city.
Smaller grocers will have 12 months to phase out the bags.
"It's great for the environment, great for the future, and great for our beaches and our ocean," Council member Ed Reyes said in a video posted on his website. "It's a win for everybody."
An estimated 2.3 billion single-use plastic carryout bags are used in Los Angeles each year, according to environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay, which supported the ban.
The measure also imposes a 10-cent charge on the use of paper bags one year after the plastic bag ban takes effect.
Some 45 other California cities have already banned the use of plastic bags by grocery stores.
© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.