Pin It
Favorite

In the Bag 

Lawmakers in Olympia take aim at the plastic bag.

click to enlarge art17433.jpg
stuff.”

Plastic grocery bags live long past your trip to the store. Bury them and they’ll be around for a thousand years. Throw them in the ocean and you might kill a whale. Burn them and they’ll give off toxic gas.

Considering this, Washington state lawmakers in both the Senate and House are now considering bans on all plastic grocery and retail bags in favor of reusable bags — or recycled paper bags, potentially sold for five cents a piece. If passed, it would be the first statewide plastic-bag ban in the nation.

The state would join four Washington cities — Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Seattle — that have already targeted the bags in the last year.

“Many local governments have taken an important first step, but a statewide approach would be easier for businesses to administer and help our waterways recover,” Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, tells Environment Washington.

In 2008, Spokane Councilman Richard Rush led an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags, and the Washington Food Industry launched an initiative called CHOOSEreusable, a volunteer program that sent consumers reusable-bag propaganda and thank-you notes for using reusable bags. Spokane, at the time, preferred a friendly reminder to an outright ban.

Also, in 2009, Elizabeth Siler, an English professor at Washington State University, led an unsuccessful effort to institute a 20-cent fee on plastic bags in Pullman.

“Unfortunately, the bag is an emblem of the me-first culture,” Siler says. “The bottom line is that recycling plastic bags is cumbersome and economically inefficient,” adding that plastic bags endanger wildlife and mar the landscape.

Ken Holmes, marketing director for American Plastics Manufacturing, located in South Park, Wash., disagrees.

“The environmental outcry is based on misinformation rather than actual scientific fact,” he says, pointing to data showing that plastic-bag manufacturing “produces 70 percent less air pollution than the manufacture of paper bags.”

He adds that plastic bags most often collect litter and serve several secondary functions — as garbage liners and lunch sacks — so consumers would end up buying more plastic products anyway.

In Seattle, the issue gained steam in 2010 after a 37-foot gray whale washed onto a beach and died. Inside its stomach were found, among other things, 20 plastic bags.

  • Pin It

Speaking of Environment, politics

Latest in News

  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • No License to Kill
  • No License to Kill

    Task force says officers should be held responsible for police shootings; plus, state auditor clears Spokane Valley firing of city manager
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trumped-up Education
  • Trumped-up Education

    Could the President-elect's support of school choice trickle down to Spokane?
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Kyler Hood

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • This Isn't Normal

    America has gone down this road before, and it's a dead end
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


election 2016


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation