THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY …


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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?

by Mike O’brien

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 and29 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.

Today, as the ban on plastic bags is implemented and or enforced most checkers are asking if you would like to buy a cotton bag because there were no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out some stores, others such as the Dollar store and Safeway came up with or possibly the plastic industry came up with a heavy-duty plastic supposedly reusable bag. I was at a Safeway and needed another bag. I honestly did not want to spend $5 and while I was looking around, I spot a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo inscribed bag with pretty colours. This was a disappointing find on so many environmental official statewide ban levels though i admit it can be reused, it is quite large and was only .25 but they tear easily. I bought one to see how it would hold up and it lasted about 2hours … so, the next question for king county is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags

What plastic bags?   ugh

.beaseedforchangestickersGREEN

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2 thoughts on “THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY …”

    1. yes, it is 10 cents … it is supposed to work as a deterrent and reduces the use of disposable bags … I am all in for what can get plastic out, but the plastic industry is strong! the big question is who do we have monitoring and or enforcing the rules? I called the 800 safeway and 800 dollar store and they no longer have plastic as an option but it took awhile. I am not saying it was me but come on please comply with the laws !

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