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.

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7 Responses to “Businesses react to Issaquah plastic bag ban”

  1. dede on August 1st, 2012 12:26 am

    Many times it is convenient for me to shop at the Issaquah stores on my way to and from work.
    For the record once the plastic bag ban goes into effect- I will not shop in Issaquah on my way home. I stop and shop in Issaquah at least 3-4 times per week .
    i will shop in other areas before Issaquah or in my home towm of Sammamish. Seattle businesses are already feeling the effect.
    I do not support banning of plastic bags as I feel the germs and bacteria from reusing bags is much more a risk for my family and others. In addition the public should not have to pay 5 cents per bag when stores already provide bags for free. QFC, Bartell’s, Walgreen, Riteaid, Safeway etc should provide them at no additional cost to the consumer.
    You should be focusing on other major issues.

  2. mrs. kravitz on August 1st, 2012 2:21 pm

    Ditto to dede!

  3. Merrill Grogel on August 1st, 2012 4:48 pm

    You have to be kidding….all over the world where I work people are bringing their own bags and eliminating plastic. I think we can all do that in Issaquah without any problems….wake up and join the rest of the world ! It’s really not a big deal at all.

  4. Smoley on August 1st, 2012 6:04 pm

    I’m sure that the number of people who choose not to shop in Issaquah due to the plastic bag ban will be more than offset by the number of oppressed treehuggers that live in the surrounding cities of Redmond, Sammamish, Factoria, and Bellevue.

    You see, anyone that truly cares about the environment and lives in those other uncaring communities would certainly flock to progressive Issaquah (the east side’s beacon of environmentalism) to do their shopping, right? These green shoppers are the “right” sort of people we want visiting our city – not some miscreants that simply want to leave their money and sales taxes here and take home goods in disposable plastic bags.

  5. Who? on August 2nd, 2012 12:48 pm

    This article’s title starts with “Businesses react…” Which businesses? The only business you quote, Bartell’s, seems OK with the ban. When this issue came up, the only businesses that complained to the council were plastic bag manufacturers and sellers. Where are the other unhappy businesses?!?

  6. Freedom Believer on August 2nd, 2012 5:50 pm

    Beyond the non-sense reasons used to justify the plastic bag ban, the issue here is freedom. No one was ever FORCED to take plastic bags. People could bring reusable bags if that is what they choose.
    However, this law now FORCES businesses not to offer free plastic bags. Apparently, the city council felt this was such a dire problem that they had to step into the middle of this and impose their brainwashed beliefs on the community.
    Well, don’t be surprised if people exercise their freedom and shop elsewhere. It is not a pro-plastic anti-plastic issue, it is an issue of allowing people the ability to decide what applications of plastic they choose to use, what is reasonable, and taking the right steps to reuse and recycle their material.

    This plastic bag ban won’t make any difference in the “environment”, only inconvenience people. But at least the city council can feel good about themselves, as people fumble around with their stacks of dirty reusable bags.

  7. Smoley on August 3rd, 2012 11:01 am


    Unless people avoid the local merchants and shop elsewhere, this ordinance isn’t bad for a local business at all. They no longer have to buy plastic bags to give away to their customers, and the law now REQUIRES them to charge you for a paper bag, so their costs are going to decrease. Why would they ever object to anything like this?

    During the community input session at council chambers before the ordinance was passed, a woman representing our Salmon Days festival voiced her opposition to the bag ban saying that it would impose a hardship on the many booth vendors that use plastic bags for purchases and for handing out swag.
    Council apparently took this input to heart as the ordinance was altered to exempt festival vendors from the plastic bag ban (how’s that helping the environment? eh?)

    This just demonstrates who the current City Council serves (hint – it’s not the citizens of Issaquah), and it’s no wonder that the local business community and Chamber of Commerce didn’t voice any objections.

    There are plenty of other places to shop in this area where bags are free and you get your choice of paper, plastic, or using your own totes at the check-out aisle. That’s a freedom that our misguided City Council will never be able to take away from me, and I plan to exercise it immediately after this bag ban goes into effect next year.

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