It is now 2022 and though the effort to deal with plastic is more evident, you can still tell …if you’re the one shopping, you know that plastic bags are NOT gone! They come and go, get replaced by paper for about a month still, and the next thing you know plastic bags are the only option
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 population.
In 2010, a beached gray whale was found to have 20 plastic bags in its stomach!
more and more wildlife are being found filled with plastic!
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 use reusable bags.
- Banned Bags Include plastic bags provided at the checkout of all retail stores (bags less than 2.25 ml thick and made from nonrenewable 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 takeout 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, offsetting 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 the summer 2011.
- Edmonds, WA – Banned Plastic Bags in 2009; the law was implemented in August 2010.
- Bellingham, WA – Banned plastic bags in 2011, in the model outlined in this document; legislation to be implemented 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 the first year.
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 overturned 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.
My take ~ 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 was no flimsy plastic available. Now, after finally getting those flimsy bags out of 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 spotted a heavy-duty plastic Safeway logo on the bag with pretty colors. I don’t know about you, but 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. Not only that, but I bought one to see how it would hold up, and it lasted about 2 hours
… so, the next question for King County, is if they actually have folks checking in on stores selling heavy-duty reusable plastic bags
and the stores say, What plastic bags? Ugh