The Seattle City Council is trying again to do away with so-called single-use plastic bags--this time, from all retail outlets (not just grocery stores) and this time, with a twist: Paper bags would still be available, but we'd be charged five cents per (the retailer keeps the money). The idea here is to gently coerce us to get our lazy butts in gear and dig the reusable grocery bags out of deep storage (read: shoved under the back seat).
The main reason? Damage these bags cause to our local marine environment and wildlife. “We all remember the beached grey whale found dead in West Seattle last year with 20 plastic bags in its stomach. The problem plastics pose for the Sound and ocean is pervasive and alarming,” says prime sponsor, Councilmember Mike O’Brien in a city press release today. “These bags provide minutes of use for us as consumers, but because they are not biodegradable are with us in the environment for hundreds of years.”
This is not like the bill voters bagged a few years ago, when we were asked to repeal the council's 20-cent fee on all bags, both paper and plastic. Voters did so in droves, after a massive campaign by a plastic-interest group called the American Chemistry Council.
This new legislation has the support of most of the City Council (so far, Tom Rasmussen and Bruce Harrell have yet to announce their support). According to a city press release, Seattle uses more than 292 million of these bags a year. If the law goes into effect (and no word yet on a vote), we'd join Edmonds and Bellingham in a total ban on the bags. Read more from our news partners, Seattle PI.