Tag Archives: Puget Sound

THE Plastic Bag Ban STORY … a repost from 2018…. have things changed?


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!

Data source: Keeping Plastics Out of Puget Sound,  Environment Washington Report, November 2011

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.

What 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.

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 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.

Background -Seattle

   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



More States and Countries are choosing to Ban and or Reduce access to Plastic Bags

beaseedforchangestickersGREEN a repost … and more posts to follow on what is As the years go by Washington state is slowing banning plastic bags ..

happening now 2017 …  Tacoma, WA plastic ordinance starts 7/12/2017  and 2012 seems like eons ago

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 and it 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?

repost from 2013

Sustainable Living and Wildlife

One day while I was minding my own business, I received an email from the fish and wildlife department. I signed up to get them but not out of malice or some secret plan to track the actions but I gotta say reading it gave me chills sadness and great disappointment… and that was my first reaction then it made me remember the elk kill that happened in December 2011; for a little background. I was reading local online news when I saw an article about an elk kill that was going to happen that following Monday. It went on to say that there was a golf course built in the area and after two years the course was suffering from damage so a request for containment was obviously put in and approved. This story just gets worse as the silly and ugly of it all becomes known and the obnoxious takes over; I read for more information. The article says about 30 Elk were noted encroaching, creating a mess for the owners and that a schedule of Elk Kills …I am becoming more upset and decided it is time to call. The contact person was great but he said that there were only about three Elk. The dept. had arranged with the Owners of the golf course, but between you and me, it did not sound kosher because the kill had not been announced, the community did not know and the area’s tribes seemed to be left out as well. I am not against sport fishing or hunting but this is not the definition of it… it seems more like legalized poaching, which is wrong on so many levels. My dad hunted and fished but in the good way. Anyway, I decided to put the original article and mine out into the airwaves to see what happened. Apparently, the story was already getting the dept. many phone calls. Thank goodness the community heard about the upcoming kill, demanded the kill be stopped. While the area’s tribe stated they did not know about the kill they stated some of the land where the kills would take place were on sacred land, which made me relax because unless or until a mutual agreement is made the Elk just may be safe. If they needed the meat, far be it from me to obstruct as long as the tribe and that area’s food banks are filled for the local communities. I cannot say that was on their minds though as one of the employee’s stated if they had just kept it quiet the commotion would be less… there is more but I will spare you…

Now, in a different part of the Pacific NW, not only are they hiring to help with the elk kill they have a wait list of volunteers and paid for helpers to “round” up the elk which is sickening . Why? Because not too long ago the number of Elk was reduced almost to zero and five years later WA state decides to thin out the Elk again. My inquiry is below


I just had to respond to an email, which I guess I subscribed to on a regular basis. First, I want to state that I have nothing against hunting but I really do not understand why these elk kills not hunts are put on if the elk are truly not harming anyone. If someone could explain to the public who decides the kills are needed and why and how many and what could be done other than the every 5yr plan or so. I have to ask because the available habitat seems to be shrinking. At one point, the number of elk was very low with humans building roads and or homes in wildlife land, I assure you that I am not the only Washington resident that misunderstands, and some object to the kills. I am no expert but who is invading whom. I received an email looking for volunteers, who included the following: “The department’s management plan calls for reducing the herd size to bring the number of animals into balance with available habitat,” Jonker said.  For me, as a Washington resident exposed to hunting and fishing; this just seems like a legalized poach and bringing the number in balance with the available habitat is only as big as the space taken up by the next golf course or family center or housing development. I just do not understand who gets the meat, hopefully to ALL Native American Tribes … who, should be the “hunters” by the way or the areas food banks but the whole “Volunteers” needed to facilitate access for elk hunts “sounds the opposite of what hunting is all about.

Their response:

Thank you for contacting the Department of Fish and Wildlife. I am forwarding your e-mail to our Wildlife Management Program, so they can address your concerns.

If you have, any questions please feel free to contact us at360-902-2464 or email us atlicensing@dfw.wa.gov.



Like I said, I have nothing against hunting and fishing but what we have is nothing close and poaching on wildlife that already is dealing with humans that have decided to spread out at whatever cost.

Then we have issues with Whales beaching themselves with the possibility of sonars being the only thing those in the know seem to be pointing toward as more and more die. I may not know quite as much about the Puget Sound’s orca nor the gray whale. I do feel that our Navy should cease and desist with all the sonar or at least tell the public what are the sonars being used against and why the grey whales washed up on our beaches. The organized elk kill, taking whales off the endangered list are all beyond sad but to hear that Wyoming has planned a massive wolf kill has us all gasping…

… Why? Because there is no announcement no explanation and this leaves some of us wondering what new development is about to shrink the habitat even more.

the Other Washington … news (November)

PDF of today's Seattle Times front page

Click on the Virtual Paper above for Stories in Seattle and Washington State

$15 minimum wage passes in SeaTac, but recount coming

Microsoft to chip in $33M for pedestrian bridgeons at flagship McDonald’s




Senate win may help Republicans for years to come

** Join
the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and add your name in
support of simple criminal background checks on all gun sales — endorse
I-594 today!

                                                                                      King County plans to  reduce its snowplowing                   

** Get Your Youth Sport Athlete checked

.** Gov.Inslee stated:  We have unfinished business on transportation, and I need your help. While we did some good things last legislative session, I was disappointed that the legislature finished without passing a much-needed transportation package.

  WA State may implement tolling booth on the I90 V a Gas Tax … most choose gas tax

** Petition | SAVE the UW Nurse Midwifery Education Program …

** Petition | University of Washington Officials and Admissions …

** More delays, more dead fish at Buckley dam

** EPA Sues Lynden Farm 

** Diver sheds light on Puget Sound’s underwater trash

** U.S. envoy says no guarantee North Korea will free Lynnwood man mom will visit with son 10/11

** Apartment shares on the rise as Seattle rents soar

** Feds: King County jail proposal would free hardened criminals

** Join
the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and add your name in
support of simple criminal background checks on all gun sales — endorse
I-594 today!

** Progressive Radio NW ~  http://www.nwprogressive.org


** Weak regulation fosters more abuse   

The state allows hundreds of doctors, counselors, others to keep practicing despite their sexual misconduct.

Breast Cancer Awareness: Early Detection Saves Lives

Age-standardised death rates from Breast cance...
Age-standardised death rates from Breast cancer by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women. Although it’s one of the deadliest cancers in the United States, breast cancer is often treatable when detected early.

Mammograms, which are low-dose x-rays of the breast, continue to be vital in the early detection of breast cancer. To learn more, read the publication Mammograms by FDA’s Office of Women’s Health. You can read it online, download it as a PDF, and order print copies for yourself and loved ones.

Visit WomensHealth.gov for additional information about breast cancer, including symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and more.