City Council to decide plastic bag ban soon

March 27, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The proposal to ban plastic bags from Issaquah stores reaches the City Council for a public discussion April 2.

The city could join Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Seattle to ban plastic bags at local retailers — a step designed to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce pollution in Puget Sound.

Issaquah council members could decide to vote on the measure or continue the discussion at a later meeting.

“The goal isn’t just to get everyone to switch from plastic to paper, it’s to get people to switch from bags that you use once to bags that you reuse,” Councilman Mark Mullet said.

In addition to limiting most plastic bags, the legislation requires retail stores to collect 5 cents for each paper bag provided to customers. The fee is meant to help retailers offset the cost.

Get involved

City Council regular meeting

  • Agenda: plastic bag ordinance discussion
  • 7:30 p.m. April 2
  • Council Chambers, City Hall South
  • 135 E. Sunset Way

Under the proposal, plastic bags remain allowable for bakery items, bulk foods, meat, produce, dry cleaning, newspapers, small hardware items and takeout foods.

In addition, the measure exempts food banks, state and federal financial assistance program recipients, and services for low-income earners from the 5-cent fee.

If city leaders adopt the ordinance, the legislation calls for the rules to go into effect nine months later. Businesses could apply for temporary waivers during the startup period.

The city plans to provide reusable bags to low-income households if the measure is enacted. Mullet said the qualification for bags from the city should be similar to the rules for food stamps.

The city is also considering a reusable bag distribution event to generate awareness if the ordinance passes.

Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee members decided March 19 to refer the ordinance to the full council for consideration. The committee chairman, Mullet, spearheaded the plastic bag proposal.

The local ordinance comes months after the Seattle City Council adopted a plastic bag ban.

In Seattle, a broad plastic bag ban passed in December 2011 and due to start in July. The measure received critical support from the Northwest Grocery Association — a trade group representing Fred Meyer, QFC and Safeway in Washington. (The grocery chains operate stores in Issaquah.)

In the Issaquah legislation, leaders cited the global and regional litter concerns related to plastic bags. Though paper bags require more energy and water to produce, paper is biodegradable — unlike plastic — and is more easily recycled.

Officials said 49,000 tons of recyclable bags and film reached the county-run Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in 2010.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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Comments

4 Responses to “City Council to decide plastic bag ban soon”

  1. Lori Syme on March 27th, 2012 10:36 pm

    Thank you for all this work! Do what you can, and keep at it until it is done! Like the Lorax said, “UNLESS” there is one person who cares, it won’t happen! One person starts, and the rest can just follow along! WE CAN DO THIS! Good job!
    Lori Syme

  2. Tom Masters on March 28th, 2012 8:43 am

    The committee chairman, Mullet, spearheaded the plastic bag proposal.

    I think Mullet should stick to making pizza and quit making things up to try to run others lives. He has 2 less regular customers now!

  3. mrs. kraavitz on March 28th, 2012 8:35 pm

    I will be purchasing a bulk supply of grocery store style plastic bags online (or will you make that illegal too). I’ll take them grocery shopping and then continue to reuse them for trash can liners, cat litter, and kids lunches (not in that order).

  4. Smoley on March 30th, 2012 12:25 pm

    Nice move, City Council. Nothing better to do with your time? I’ll remember that the next time you jokers are up for reelection.

    In the meantime, should this ban go through, I will no longer shop in Issaquah. I’ll drive over to Sammamish or hit the stores in Bellevue and give them my business and city sales taxes.

    Until I can vote you out of office, I’ll be voting with my wallet. Nice knowin’ ya, Front Street Market.

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