More shopping means more plastic … unless your State is going green
So, if you live in LA remember to BYORB …reusable bag! Because plastic is banned and paper bags will cost you .10cents. After seeing the latest move made by Governor Brown who would like to implement the ban quickly, it’s apparent the people of Cali need some recycle classes, better information and some enlightenment. As ugly, as the reusable bags are to you and the notion that Plastic bags are more convenient is possibly true, but to say that they double as garbage bags is disturbing. The environment needs help which in turn keep us healthy, a lifestyle that younger folks need to take up and a battle that will be ongoing while cities need to provide containers that help consumers sort out their garbage with little or no confusion and keeps the smell to a minimum …thanks
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.
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
Be a Seed for Change has a couple of great bags as well, much larger
www.bonanza.com/booths/BeaSeedforChange started in 2006
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, sell and 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 were 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 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 those heavy-duty reusable bag
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-