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
Friend of Reproductive Rights …
Ben Betz, People For the American Way
Congressional Republicans seem to think that workers are the property of their employers!
They want to reverse DC’s reproductive health non-discrimination law — making it so women could be fired for having an abortion or using birth control — because they say that kind of discrimination is a business owner’s “religious freedom!”
First, I ask that you read this whole email, just so you can get a full appreciation for what’s going on here, and how absolutely appalling this example of right-wing extremism is that I’m about to share with you. (And, of course, your voice is also needed in response.)
The Washington, DC City Council recently passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. The law protects workers from being fired or punished by their employers for things like having an abortion, using contraception, or getting pregnant out of wedlock. Or for having a family member (spouse or dependent) engage in the same.
Congress has the authority to reverse local laws passed by the District of Columbia — which itself is a fundamentally undemocratic arrangement, but that’s a story for another email! — and now Republicans in the House are looking to use this authority to repeal the DC law.
Please speak out against this now (then keep reading)!
This repeal is a threat to every woman, and every family with a woman, in DC. Additionally, the driving force behind this Republican intervention represents an urgent national threat to women, to LGBT people, and to the principle of religious liberty.
That’s because at the same time Republicans in Congress are taking their anti-choice attacks to frightening levels, they are escalating the right-wing trend of hijacking “religious liberty” to justify discrimination.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that Republicans believe the DC law unconstitutionally violates the religious freedom of employers because it “forces employers to hire and retain individuals whose beliefs regarding reproductive health decisions are different from what the employer advocates.”
Ummm, yeah! That’s the entire point of living in a free country! For a group of people who love to talk about “freedom” as much as they do they do, they really, really don’t get it.
In fact, it seems that Republicans think the definition of “freedom” is exclusively reserved for the freedom of businesses to own their employees and control every aspect of their lives.
Anyone who loves the First Amendment and values true religious freedom should be outraged. As should the people Republicans want to make vulnerable to discrimination.
Thanks for making it through this. If you are as incensed about this as I’d expect, please help by spreading the word after you take action.
— Ben Betz, Online Engagement Director
It’s now 2019 and bag bans and or plastic bans are being implemented again or changed to reflect upon current issues at hand but still, there’s a big problem knowing exactly how to recycle … straws, tetra paks making sure the stuff you put in the bin are actually clean and dry
More shopping means more plastic … unless your State is going green
So, if you live in LA remember to BYO .. 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 2017 and as spring& summer 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 .10 cent 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 …
a repost from 4/2013 and will continue to