The council's unanimous vote also puts pressure on the state, which is considering an Assembly bill that would impose bag recycling requirements on stores. City officials said their ban would not be implemented if the state passes the bill and requires at least a 25-cent charge per bag.
"We've gotten to a point where we need to act as a city, where we can have real results," said Councilman Ed Reyes, who proposed the bag ban. "We're trying to do it in a way where we can educate and inform the public of what we're doing."
Reyes said the ban will minimize cleanup costs for the city and reduce trash that collects in storm drains and the Los Angeles River. The city estimates more than 2 billion plastic bags are used each year in Los Angeles. About 5 percent of plastic bags and 21 percent of paper bags are recycled in California.
Banning plastic bags will not solve the litter problem, said an attorney who opposes the regulation of plastic bags.
"We've had enough of politicians accepting the misinformation that's spread around the Internet about plastic bags," said Stephen Joseph of the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, which represents bag manufacturers.
3% of the bag fee will be returned to the retailer, 3% will go to the state, and the rest will go back to the city to fund an education campaign.