City Council schedules hearing to gather input on proposed plastic bag ban

April 13, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. April 13, 2012

In a push to collect more input on a proposal to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah business, City Council scheduled another opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed ban.

Supporters said a plastic bag ban could reduce landfill waste and marine pollution. Opponents said the legislation could lead to lost plastics manufacturing jobs in the region.

Citizens can comment on the proposed plastic bag ban at a special meeting and public hearing April 30. The council is not expected to reach a decision on the legislation at the meeting.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The plastic bag ban proponent, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and Councilman Mark Mullet, shepherded the legislation through committee and to the council for discussion and, perhaps, a decision April 2.

But, after listening to comments from environmental organizations and plastics manufacturers — but only a handful of remarks from city residents — council members delayed a decision.

Mayor Ava Frisinger, a self-described longtime user of reusable bags, said the proposal is a next step since the city enacted a comprehensive food packaging ordinance in November 2009.

“I think that banning plastic bags would fit with the community’s desire to protect the environment in a manner that went along with the banning of Styrofoam containers,” she said.

(The mayor only casts a vote on council decisions in order to break a tie.)

The local proposal mimics the ordinance in Seattle and is similar to legislation in Bellingham, Edmonds and Mukilteo.

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.

The proposed ordinance contains exemptions for bakery items, bulk foods, meat, produce, dry cleaning, newspapers, small hardware items and takeout foods.

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One Response to “City Council schedules hearing to gather input on proposed plastic bag ban”

  1. Ken Holmes on April 13th, 2012 8:41 pm

    Actually, I was at the previous meeting, as a representative of a plastic bag manufacturer, and we too were speaking about reducing landfill waste and marine pollution. The press continuously misrepresents the plastic industry’s position on ban bans. Sure, local and domestic jobs would be lost and those jobs would be shipped overseas so we can get our heavyweight plastic reusable bags, but the main point we continually try to make is that bag bans do NOTHING to decrease solid waste or plastic pollution in the oceans.

    Environment Washington and People for Puget Sound, the main pushers of bag legislation in the state, have yet to cite a single scientific study or report that demonstrates that bag bans reduce landfill waste or marine pollution. It follows no logic whatsoever to think that it would. Retail checkout bags make up less than 1 percent of all landfill volume, and most people reuse them for garbage, or recycle them. The environmentalist suggestion to replace those secondary uses? Buy packaged bags!

    Every ban or bag fee in the world has resulted in higher waste going to landfills, and higher prices for consumers. Yet the only statistic that gets reported is how we’re using less plastic checkout bags. If there’s a ban, of course there are less!

    People for Puget Sound talks about microplastics in the ocean, but most microplastics come from cosmetics, laundering synthetic fabrics, and industrial abrasives. NOT from plastic bags. Port Townsend Marine Science Center did beach sampling to identify and count the small pieces of plastic on Puget Sound beaches… they found that plastic film (of which plastic bags were only one type of) was the least common type of plastic found. The logic of eliminating the smallest contributor to litter will eliminate all litter is ridiculous. ‘

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