Off the Press

July 3, 2012

By Kathleen R. Merrill

The paper or plastic battle isn’t over yet

Ahh, plastic bags. I don’t know of a time in my seven years here when there has been so much controversy. And most of it after a decision.

(There was that brouhaha in December 2009 over McNugget, the rooster that lives on Front Street across from Darigold, which brought so many comments I thought they would never end! I just checked our website and the main story brought 134 comments there alone.)

As for the bags, the comments and letters are still coming in. The most astonishing thing to me is the people who say they’re going to drive to other cities to shop. Seriously? Take the gas guzzling SUV to another city to get plastic bags and avoid the 5-cent paper bag fee? That just sounds ludicrous. How many bags of groceries do people get per trip?

So you’re going to spend 25 cents for bags. Of course, you can bring your own, of any type, anytime you shop. Instead, waste dollars of gas to avoid paying a quarter or so?

If you’re concerned about local businesses and the impact this decision will have, abandoning them for your shopping doesn’t make sense. Buying local is important in so many ways, not the least of which are the dollars that stay in our community.

As for the people trying to repeal the decision, where were you when the idea was being discussed? I always find it strange that people, including people from other cities, will complain about something they didn’t get involved in when they had full opportunity to do so.

I haven’t used plastic bags for years. A number of years ago, I just decided that I would do as much as I could to make my imprint on the planet better. I turn off the water while I brush my teeth, instead of letting it run. Sure, the planet won’t continue or end based on my water usage, but if everyone did his or her part…

That’s my opinion about the bags, too. You can do your part without the government telling you to do so. Then again, some people won’t be responsible for themselves and their lives without legislation. Heck, some people won’t do that even with legislation. (Wait. Is that the sound of hate mail being delivered?)

But I wonder about the enforcement here. I am still getting food in Styrofoam containers in local restaurants, and that was supposed to end in October.

All of this is starting to give me a headache. I am going to go put my head in a (paper) bag and breathe deeply.

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or Comment at

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2 Responses to “Off the Press”

  1. issaquahMom on July 3rd, 2012 7:31 pm

    Amen, Sister!
    I encountered a women trying to “repeal” the decision at the Issaquah Highlands Park and Ride. Given her elaborate signs (including a hat) and petitions and flyers, she has surely spent more the cost of a dozen reusable canvas bags on trying to fight this.

    If only the naysayers would spend a few afternoons picking up litter along the roadside instead of putting all their energy into campaigning to change the rule, I would feel more tolerant. Plastic bags cause real damage to the environment, both locally (visible, unsightly trash) and globally (degraded particles in oceans eaten by fish).

    This is an “easy” fix! (I didn’t ask you to install a worm bin in your garage, or ban SUV’s for any trips under 5 miles, for example).

    My neighbors need to grow up and start making decisions that support society on a WHOLE, not just their personal interests.

  2. Doug on July 7th, 2012 11:20 am

    People won’t drive out of town to save a quarter, but they will to save 20% on their groceries.. Wal-Mart anyone?

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