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.