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!
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.
- 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.
- 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
I have to include an 2015 update to what seemingly was a ban in 2012, was in reality. a choice to pay .5 – .10cents for plastic bags if you want them? The good news is that the transition to an actual ban on plastic as a choice is happening in some parts of Washington state! YAY I have been shaking my head for the last 2yrs when more often than not the checker goes into auto-reaction mode and grabs the plastic if the consumer didn’t bring their own. I am not sure what I expected, but having forgotten my own bags on several occasions the response or offer for a reusable bag was seldom or none and makes me wonder just how much of an impact is being made since the statistics are probably tainted with how many plastic bags are given out each day versus paper or offering a reusable bag. Now, in this year of 2015, no plastic bags are available at more grocery stores and if you don’t have your reusable some of the clerks actually say paper or you can buy one of ours …. finally.
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.
After years of pulling out my small 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 because documented 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 or re-used.
We owe it to our next generation…
Grocery stores, as well as food service outlets owe it to consumers and the environment.
It took quite sometime and we’ve come a long way from fighting the plastic industry to now finding that Indeed some Grocers feel the same way by eliminating plastic bags period ~ 2015
stay tuned in … who are the enforcers?
Get This Eco-Friendly 100% Organic Bag great for Shopping& the Beach-
repost from 2013
just another continued rant on citizenship … from 2013
I thought Republicans had finally grown up and swept the birther issue under a rug somewhere safe. That seems to have lasted for only about two Romney flip-flops. It is apparent that Tony Perkins, president of the Family Res Council, Republican members of Congress and Governors continue to tell Americans that birtherism, the War on Women and our Rights to… (You fill it in), are without a doubt much more important than our economy. I would be happy to see Republicans in Congress actually, do the people’s business at all, let alone increase it, as the current group works for 190days or less. Yet, despite everything the Republicans have done, our economy is on the mend. Our slow economic recovery is happening without austerity measures though all the filibustering Mitch McConnell and his comrades continue to engage in against progress; austerity was and still is the word of the day and mission of the new Republican freshman. While some Americans, seemingly had the wool pulled over their eyes in election 2010. The ugly truth began to leak out at town hall meetings and finally a smidge of buyer’s remorse set in as actual plans like the Paul Ryan plan received a 2nd look and was rejected, but 2.0 and others since have popped up and his path to economic prosperity still deserves a whole lot of scrutiny.
In between all the confusing economy noise, the Republican Party continues to reach new lows in desperate behavior. While birtherism on its face is funny at times because who really takes this stuff serious …right. Nevertheless, the topic, subject … stupid things conjured up through ideology continues to be added to the conservative conversation and list of ‘Religious Conscience‘ though some call it religious instinct. With severe conservatives like Mitt Romney, we all should wonder if religion, consciousness, or instinct should be allowed in the same sentence let alone our own – conscious thought, considering what Policies Romney will be throwing at Americans for the next six months. The War on women, immigration, workers, minorities, students, and voter rights are Republican issues , a slap of reality, or a rude awakening with so many states trying or passing strict negative conservative legislation against the middle and lower class cloaked in big bright new ideas on that path to prosperity that representative Paul Ryan is still pushing. Except, the political Party of NO, the Republican Party of the 21st Century is no longer our parents conservative party.
We all have to know; that the path conservatives want us all on could destroy our democracy.
Hey, if you have been sitting on the voting fence since the 2012 election year … look at Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, or Michigan for the current state of mind conservative lawmakers are lounging in. I will admit I usually consider any conservative pledge as laughable -until the” Purity Pledge” from a group named N.O.M. popped up. Common sense if any available, tells you that a pledge to hurt others or exclude them definitely sounds silly, is way beyond offensive right, yet, it got signed by all the socially conservative candidates for President. It tells pledgers to, among other things commit to practicing exclusion and lest we pay attention to their choice of words “purity” and I become ill immediately, as that word covers so much more than their requirements listed here for any votes the candidate for President gets in exchange for a signature. This thing is not only archaic but this extremely conservative organization wants, “Signers to pledge: never to engage in pre-marital sex or extramarital affairs, end all viewing of pornography and gambling, never to marry a person of the same gender, and never to “favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex”. I don’t know if all Republicans agree with this purity pledge, we all know they signed the Norquist pledge and that has hurt all Americans as well as that “family values platform” which also covers birther issues too no less. Suffice it to say that conservatives behaving badly and that cliché, “do as i say not as i do; comes to mind as most if all are not that pure, if you get my drift. If you believe in social conservatism you will be voting against your own best interest in the 2012 elections, controlled by extreme policies and that is sad.
The commonality between birthers, birthrights citizenship economy, and austerity or the lack of it or any of the combinations out there is …that the latest comments coming from these social conservatives are code for and against “the other”. It should make us all stop and reassess not only the beliefs of these conservatives voted into positions of power and Public Service but we must all challenge them, their oath, and the servants they pledged to be. We all know this group has managed to get away with attacking women, gays, the undocumented and minorities with legislation that will has disenfranchised them. Then we crossed into Blunt territory – pun intended and luckily, that blunt was put out. I wonder if anyone else wonders or imagines how often these fools must meet plan and cover each other on the local state and federal level. Speaker Boehner, plays his part well, his buddies claim they want smaller Government yet their policies include controlling half the population. Given that bit of info, it bares reminding that anything done to one part of our system effects another…our system is interrelated thus adversely affecting birth, rights, citizenship, and our economy’s chances of being force fed austerity by Teapublicans.
It is not clear to me what Willard Mitt Romney stands for today but just wait … it could change. I have to complain about that nasty speech with Romney, smacking his lips and spewing something to his NH audience about Real Americans don’t apologize while abroad, that President Obama does not get real Americans and the BS about urban children. Mitt, what are you tryin to say ?The speech among a few others gave us all proof of just how out of touch the Teapublican Candidate for President is . Romney has done nothing but flip flop since he announced his candidacy and still wins the nomination. I don’t know if Trump will be the next fool to win the nomination but given all his babbling … His comments on Race , Gender and Immigrants should not be ignored or forgotten at the 2016VotingBooth
The sole mission of this Republican Party of No – is to turn back the clock …It is beyond offensive and will affect all our families past present and future
Compare contrast what he said 9/15 and today
Donald Trump Releases His Tax Plan, A ‘Uge Tax Cut For The Wealthiest Few 9/2015
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump released his tax plan today and—shocking no one familiar with American politics—analysis by the Center For American Progress Action Fund shows the plan would be another ‘uge windfall for the wealthiest few. In fact, Trump’s family stands to gain more from his plan than almost anyone, with the elimination of the estate tax giving the Trump family a tax cut of up to $3.48 billion, and the dramatic cut to the corporate tax rate also benefitting the family.
The “losers” under Trump’s plan will be anyone that relies on Medicare, Medicaid, or investment in things like infrastructure, education or job training—in other words middle class families. Like Jeb! Bush before him, Trump makes the tired argument that his tax plan is focused on the middle class, when in fact it is a big, beautiful tax cut for the wealthy. Here are three ways the plan favors the wealthy few at the expense of the middle class:
A simply tremendous gift to his kids. Among the biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s pitch to eliminate the estate tax? The Trumps themselves. The estate tax only applies to estates worth $5.43 million, and only two out of every one thousand estates pay any estate tax at all.
- Eliminating the current 40% estate tax could mean that Trump’s kids could stand to save as much as $3.48 billion in estate taxes—given Trump’s claimed net worth of $8.7 billion.
- Because it is easy for wealthy people to use loopholes to lower their estate tax bills, using a more cautious estimate that assumes Trump pays near the average estate tax rate of 18.8 percent, Trump’s plan would result in giving his kids $1.64 billion.
The best, most luxurious tax plan for those living in luxury. Trump’s tax plan would slash corporate, individual income, and capital gains and dividends tax rates—three moves that give bigger boosts to the nation’s richest.
- The top 20 percent of taxpayers pay 78.6 percent of the country’s corporate taxes—meaning a tax cut on corporate income would be a huge boost for them, but do little to nothing for the other 80 percent.
- Trump would cut the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent—even lower than Jeb Bush’s proposed top individual rate of 28 percent. An analysis by the Center for Tax Justice predicts that the top one percent of Americans would see an average break of $184,000 a year under Trump’s plan, compared to an average annual cut of only $250 for the bottom 20 percent.
- Trump’s plan to cut tax rates on income from capital gains and dividends is yet another gift to the nation’s wealthiest people. The 400 richest taxpayers alone received 12 percent of all capital gains income and 8 percent of all dividend income. As shown in a recent Center for American Progress report, a lower tax rate on dividends and capital gains is one of the ways the U.S. tax code worsens inequality by helping those who are wealthy enough to own capital accumulate even more wealth.
- Even the hedge fund managers who Trump says are “getting away with murder” might get a tax cut on their carried interest. Trump claims to close this loophole, but if investment funds pay taxes as businesses their tax rate on carried interests would fall from 23.8% to 15%. And even if Trump requires hedge funds to pay taxes using his individual rates, taxes on carried interest would only go up from 23.8% to 25%. Not to mention the fact that Trump would still give hedge fund managers huge tax cuts on the rest of their income.
A ‘uge increase to the deficit. Trump claims that his plan “doesn’t add to our debt and deficit,” but any reasoned analysis of the plan suggests that it would be extremely costly. The plan jeopardizes programs that working and middle class families depend on for economic security, like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
- The Center for Tax Justice estimates that Trump’s plan would cost $10 trillion over the next 10 years.
- Though the plans vary in some ways, Bush’s and Trump’s plans pledge to make some very similar tax cuts, which would inevitably force budget cuts from crucial programs. And even the team of advisors Bush recruited to support his plan say that it would cost $3.4 trillion over the next ten years.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite Trump’s populist rhetoric, his tax plan would only be the best, most luxurious tax plan for those already living in luxury. It gives his own family a potential $3.48 billion tax cut, jeopardizing programs that middle class families depend on for economic security along the way.