By Associated Press

With Los Angeles preparing to become the largest city in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags, a short history of the ubiquitous sack:

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  • 1977

    1977, the plastic grocery bag is introduced to the supermarket industry as an alternative to paper bags. (Smaller plastic bags for grocery store produce had debuted in 1966.) <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • 1982

    1982, Kroger and Safeway begin using the modern-day polyethylene T-shirt-shaped bag. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • 1996

    1996, about 80 percent of all grocery store bags are now plastic. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • 2012

    2012, about 90 percent of all grocery store bags are now plastic. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • Current Stats

    About 2.7 billion bags a year are used in Los Angeles. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • Current Stats

    About 100 billion bags a year are used throughout the world. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • Current Stats

    A plastic bag weighing less than an ounce can carry up to 44 pounds. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>

  • Plastic Bag Uses

    Some of the ways plastic bags can be reused, as suggested by the plastic-bag industry: Carrying lunch, storing things, lining trash cans, cleaning up after pets, protecting valuables from rain and snow, keeping water and gas lines from freezing in winter, keeping clothing dry on boat trips, using as makeshift umbrellas, using again to carry groceries home from the store. <em>Caption by Associated Press. Sources: The trade group Society of the Plastic Industry and the city of Los Angeles.</em>