THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY by City Council Member Mike O’Brien


first posted - Nov.2011

What’s the Problem?

Washingtonians use more than 2 billion  single-use plastic bags  each year, and Seattle alone uses approximately 292  million plastic  bags annually and only 13% are recycled.  Too many plastic  bags end up  in Puget Sound where they do not biodegrade.  Plastic bags break down  into smaller and  smaller pieces that remain hazardous as they are  consumed by filter-feeders,  shellfish, fish, turtles, marine mammals,  and birds. PCB levels in Chinook  salmon from Puget Sound are 3- to  5-times higher than any other West Coast  populations. In 2010, a  beached gray whale was  found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!

Data source: Keeping Plastics Out of Puget Sound,  Environment Washington Report, November 2011

How would the plastic bag ban work?

It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic   carryout bags to customers.  Paper bags  may still be provided to  customers for a minimum of five cents – stores keep  the nickel to help  cover the cost of providing bags.  Everyone is encouraged to bring, sell  and use  reusable bags.

What bags?

  • Banned Bags Include: plasticbags provided at checkout of all  retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable  sources).
  • Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk  foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door  hanger bags and dry cleaning bags.

What stores?

  • Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not  limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies,  department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks.
  • Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.

What about paper?

  • Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled  paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to  offset the cost of providing bags.
  • Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs shall be provided paper bags at no charge.

Joining cities on the West Coast and around the world

Seattle would join cities along the West Coast, hundreds of cities  across the country and twenty nations worldwide that have already taken  action to reduce the use of single use plastic bags.

  • San Francisco, CA – Banned plastic bags in 2007.
  • Los Angeles County – Banned Plastic bags November 2010; includes a 10 cent fee on paper bags.
  • Portland, OR – Banned plastic bags in summer 2011.
  • Edmonds, WA - Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; law was implemented in August 2010.
  • Bellingham, WA - Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document;  legislation to be implement in summer 2012.
  • Washington DC – Implemented a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2009; reduced  disposable bag use by 80% citywide in first year.

Background in Seattle

Approximately 292 million disposable  bags are used in the City  of Seattle annually.   In 2008, the City Council passed an ordinance that  would have placed a 20 cent fee on disposable plastic and  paper bags  at grocery, drug and convenience stores in an effort to reduce  waste.   The ordinance passed the Council  in a 6-1 vote and then opposing  parties collected enough signatures to refer  the ordinance to the  ballot, where it was over-turned by the voters (53%-47%)  in the  November 2009 primary election.   The American Chemistry Council spent  over $1.4 million opposing the law  during the ballot measure campaign.

Has your state implemented a ban or reduction plan for Plastic Bags? 2014


  

More shopping means more plastic … unless your State is going green

So, if you live in LA remember to BYORB …reusuable bag! because plastic is banned and paper bags will cost you .10cents.

  Poly-bags are made from petroleum, are non-biodegradable and manufacturing paper bags requires large quantities of wood. The problem and question, is whether the attempt to clean up our act state by state has a great department where folks are determined to  regulate the use of these environmental killers properly, so that our next generation has a chance.

www.bonanza.com/booths/BeaSeedforChange

Do you know how many states are banning plastic bags ? The ban or reduction of plastic bags was implemented on July 1 of 2012 in Seattle, WA.  It’s now 2014 and as spring& summer time weather begins, folks start shopping.  I get it, it is not lucrative to ask for reusable bags or to inform the public about the .5 to .10cent charge for each bag, but given the idea that we all should be concerned about the environment; I do expect a little more effort to push reusable bags.  Some states have implemented their Ban or Reduction plans, but not much information is available about who will or is enforcing the new rules or how they are measuring the reduction rate, if at all. The struggle to clean up our environment should not be this complicated or hard and hopefully our city councils will keep at it with great zeal as the plastic’s industry has big $$ incentives to stall or stop it …

They need to think about the next generation …  the Seattle City Council rules and regulations on plastic bags are below

How will the plastic bag ban work?

It’s simple – retailers are prohibited from offering plastic  carryout bags to customers. Paper bags may still be provided to customers for a  minimum of five cents – stores keep the nickel to help cover the cost of  providing bags. Everyone is encouraged to bring, sell and use reusable bags.

What bags?

Banned Bags Include: plastic bags provided at checkout of all  retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from non‐renewable sources). Exclusions: bags used by shoppers in a store to package bulk  foods, meat, flowers, bakery goods or prescriptions; newspaper, door hanger  bags and dry cleaning bags.

What stores?

Where the policy applies: all retail stores including but not  limited to grocery stores, corner and convenience stores, pharmacies,  department stores, farmers markets, restaurants and catering trucks. Where it’s not applicable: for take‐out food where  there is a public health risk if a bag is not provided.

What about paper?

Retailers may provide paper bags made of at least 40% recycled  paper for a minimum 5 cent pass through cost that retailers keep to offset the  cost of providing bags. Low income customers who qualify for food assistance programs  shall be provided paper bags at no charge.

We have a couple of great bags as well, much larger www.bonanza.com/booths/BeaSeedforChange

More States and Countries are choosing to Ban and or Reduce access to Plastic Bags


In March of 2012, I heard that Alameda County California voted to implement their “ban” on single use bags not regulate them sometime around January 2013. It just so happens that at or around the same time things were being finalized in different parts of our beautiful state of Washington. Though it has been a long struggle for Washington State to move towards an ordinance that would “ban” bags at retail outlets due to big MONEY in the plastics industry.

However, in late December, word was that the City Councils Zero Waste Initiative to “ban” plastic bags in limited and in graduated way realized after four years. In 2008, the Council banned Styrofoam and though they tried to regulate plastic bags they got serious push back from the industry, which spent about $1.4 million, collected signatures with rumors of leaving out some info … then had the ordinance repealed. It was nice to read about Council Bill 117345, a bill to protect Puget Sound, our marine wildlife and our Environment in general joining about twelve states and up to twenty nations. The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to implement the ban on plastic carry out bags.

Finally, after years of pulling out my recycled bags for the checker to shove my groceries into, Washington State is joining the global movement to protect marine wildlife; the ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2012. It may be a cliché, but this ordinance is a change we can all believe in. I have to say, at first; in my experiences; checkers seemed a little annoyed at having to fight with the reusable bags. The word from most Checkers back in the day was, that plastic is just easier. Yes, the first reusable bags were too small, the dye ran the material was unforgiving, but as folks found better ways to make them; the cost came down and more people bought them including me.

Now, the bags not only cost a little bit more, they are bigger more stylish, last forever are definitely more flexible, and a highly recommended investment. The move to switch from plastic to” bring your own bag” will be difficult for some at first; I intend to carry a few extra to give away or sell; on my website. Studies show that birds, sea turtles and other wildlife eat plastic bags and some are made with toxic chemicals that could be harmful. The time for a behavior change is now. We all know change is tough, but here we are in the 21st Century and that floating garbage circle, called the ” Great Pacific Garbage Patch” discovered in the 90′s by Charles Moore, is only getting bigger. There will always be push back from the plastics industry, their supporters as well as environmental activists who all feel the government does not go far enough and they may be right, but we have to start somewhere.

It baffles me at how complicated people have made the effort to clean up our environment; we all know the need to reduce TRASH as a whole starts at home, although Seattle is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the nation, only 13 percent of plastic bags are recycled/re-used.

We owe it to our next generation…

Grocery stores, as well as food service outlets owe it to consumers and the environment.

Get This Eco-Friendly 100% Organic Bag great for Shopping& the Beach- @ http://www.beaseedforchange.org

repost

What grade would you give your roads?


Washington’s roads, transit rate a D+, engineers say

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 SeattleWAthumbpix
Washington state road and transit systems deserves a D+ grade, and overall infrastructure a C, says a report issued Tuesday by the Seattle chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.The good news is that “Washington state has got a very good track record in safety, in both road and transit systems,” said Shane Binder, one of 15 co-authors. The state’s goal of zero road deaths by 2030 is attainable, he said.  Road deaths declined from 633 in 2006 to 424 in 2011, a 28 percent drop, federal statistics show.But the ASCE scored the state low because of its tenuous funding systems.  Pierce Transit and Community Transit have cut service, while King County Metro begs for new taxing authority to replace expiring sources and to grow with demand. On the other hand, Sound Transit is moving forward with most of its $18 billion expansion, including three rail lines, which voters approved in 2008.

Laura Ruppert, co-chair of the report-card committee, called the C score mediocre.

The group said Washington state highways are average, but city and rural streets are worse and drag the score down.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is considering a gas-tax hike of up to 10 cents a gallon along with other fees to fuel an $8.4 billion program — mostly highway expansions. Only $900 million is earmarked for maintenance and preservation. The plan has been blasted by retired WashDOT Secretary Doug MacDonald. Among other problems, it puts off a full redecking of Interstate 5 to some future round of tolls or taxes.

The Seattle ASCE’s report suggests gas taxes that keep pace with inflation, along with public-private partnerships that might save money. But the group wouldn’t judge OIympia’s 2013 package, when asked Tuesday. “We’d like to see a good balance between maintenance of projects, and new projects,” said Larry Costich, legislative correspondent for Seattle ASCE.

Washington’s scores by category were: aviation C, bridges C-, dams B, drinking water C-, rail C-, roads D+, schools C, hazardous waste C, and transit D+.

Seattle ACSE issued the report to mark its 100th anniversary. In March, the national ASCE declared U.S. infrastructure a D+ and in need of $3.6 trillion investment by 2020, to help the U.S. economy stay competitive.

Prevent Metro Transit cuts


Again, my point to posting this is because Seattleites are being asked to help stop Metro Cuts again.  I just don’t understand where the $$ went with all the changes cuts that were made since this petition (2011)? Now, an increase of approximately $60 on our Washington State tabs to help roads  and infrastructure etc. is being requested. I normally am not this vocal because I support any infrastructure work, but after all that has transpired, tax payers need more information re: any savings from eliminating the ride-free zone  and why we are being asked to contribute more.

Below is an email from Seattle MoveOn member Julia Deak Sandler, who created a petition at SignOn.org that is getting a lot of attention and may be of interest to people in your area. If you have concerns or feedback about this petition, http://civic.moveon.org/signon_feedback/?id=28841-17809870-3sqpZSx&t=1  – The petition no longer exists but the attempt to help was made and the charge on tabs went from 20 to $60

Dear King County MoveOn member,

Due to declines in tax revenues, King County Metro will have to cut public transit services by 17% unless the King CountyCouncil votes to implement a two-year $20 congestion reduction charge on vehicle licenses.

The right choice is clear—ask drivers to pay less than the cost of a tank of gas so that public transit can continue to serve those who rely on it to get to work, serve those with limited mobility, and allow us all to lower pollution and traffic congestion.

So I created a petition to the King County Council on SignOn.org that says:

“We value King County Metro service and do not want to see it cut. Please use the $20 congestion charge option to keep services running and keep King County green.”

Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:

http://signon.org/sign/prevent-metro-transit?source=mo&id=28841-17809870-3sqpZSx&t=2

Thanks!

–Julia Deak Sandler

The text above was written by Julia Deak Sandler, not by MoveOn staff, and MoveOn is not responsible for the content. This email was sent through MoveOn’s secure system, and your information has been kept private.