Businesses react to Issaquah plastic bag ban
July 31, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Local business leaders raised concerns about shoppers bypassing Issaquah after a retail plastic bag ban for retailers of 7,500 square feet or more goes into effect March 1, 2013.
The measure does not go into effect for smaller businesses until March 1, 2014.
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 offset the changeover cost as retailers eliminate plastic bags.
Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders urged consumers to continue shopping in Issaquah.
“While relatively small in number, we are growing concerned about the increasing number of comments made by members of the public indicating they are considering shopping elsewhere in response to this issue,” chamber CEO Matthew Bott said. “We urge consumers to continue to support our business community.”
Chamber leaders said Issaquah relies on regional consumers. The city is a retail hub on the Eastside, and sales tax revenues fill city coffers.
The chamber did not form a position on the bag ban legislation, but in a survey, members did not endorse the ban. In April, chamber leaders received responses from more than 70 survey participants; a little more than half opposed the proposed legislation.
City leaders modeled the plastic bag ban on a similar ordinance in Seattle. The measure went into effect in Seattle last month.
Theron Andrews, vice president of marketing at Bartell Drugs, a chain operating stores in Seattle and Issaquah, said the Seattle ban readied the Seattle-based company for the Issaquah ordinance.
In Seattle, Bartell started offering a stronger plastic bag as a reusable bag and offers paper bags for sale. The local chain operates under a plastic bag ban in Edmonds, too.
“The good news for us is, it looks like everything that we did in Seattle will just really translate into Issaquah straight across, so it should be a pretty flawless and easy transition for us,” Andrews said.