This article is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Environmental Programs Division, committed to protecting our communities and the environment while providing a higher quality of life for the citizens of Los Angeles County. Visit to learn more about reusable bags today.

You're likely accustomed to hearing cashiers ask "paper, or plastic", but that familiar phrase is about to get an update.

Starting January 1st, all stores in the unincorporated County of Los Angeles will stop distributing single use plastic carryout bags. Customers are reminded to bring a reusable bag to avoid paying 10 cents for a paper bag.

The change is part of a new ordinance designed to ease the economic and environmental impact of plastic bags.

Los Angeles County residents use almost 600 bags per person per year. That's almost six billion bags, and most of them are part of a huge litter problem that costs County taxpayers over $20 million annually.

So preventing their use is key to saving everyone money and keeping the city clean.

As an alternative, the County's recommending the use of reusable containers to carry groceries and household items.

So soon, you may be hearing your cashier saying "did you bring a reusable bag today?"

Here's what you need to know to take advantage of this eco-friendly change:

Get a Free Reusable Bag
Through Thursday, December 22, the Los Angeles County Public Works' Eco-Elf Patrol will visit local stores and libraries to distribute free reusable shopping bags to customers. Check out the Eco-Elf's schedule and get your free bag!

Get Entered into the Sweepstakes
Any shopper spotted using their free reusable bag will be entered twice into the County's sweepstakes.

Keep your Reusable Bags Handy
To make the most of your reusable bags, be sure to one or two in your car, and put a sticker on your keys as a reminder. You can always keep a few at your office, place them near your door, and place reminders on your fridge, too. 

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