February 26, 2013

By Staff

Accept it — the bag ban is here

On Friday, the Issaquah ban on most retail plastic bags begins. Like it or not, prepare to bring your own reusable bags, or pay a nickel per paper bag. An ad in this paper offers a coupon for a free reusable bag.

The plastic bag ban was adopted last June by the Issaquah City Council, following in the footsteps of Seattle and other cities, including Edmonds and Mukilteo. Concern for the environment was the prime motivator behind the initiative, led by then-City Councilman Mark Mullet, now the state senator for the 5th Legislative District.

According to the city’s website, plastic bags are made from nonrenewable resources and do not biodegrade in the environment. An estimated 2 billion disposable plastic bags are used annually in Washington state, and less than 5 percent are recovered for recycling.

The first phase in effect March 1 only applies to the largest stores, those over 7,500 square feet. Smaller stores will have another year to implement the ban. Stores not complying can be fined.

The Issaquah ban does not eliminate all plastic bags. You will still be able to put your broccoli in a small bag, and can use another for your bagels. The exemption for plastic bags extends to bakery items, bulk foots, meat, produce and take-out food.

Exemptions also apply to small hardware items, so you won’t have to put a pound of bulk nails or screws in your pocket. Dry cleaning bags are also OK, as are the plastic bags used to protect home-delivered newspapers from the rain.

Issaquah has given consumers plenty of time to get used to the idea of the bag change, yet there are still threats by a few who say they will shop elsewhere.

It’s time for those who choose to shop in Issaquah to get with the program. Shopping locally is the right thing to do, just as is learning to carry reusable bags — no matter where you shop.


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5 Responses to “Editorial”

  1. Not so Green on February 26th, 2013 9:17 pm

    I’m doing my grocery shopping etc. in Sammamish now. There isn’t a special charge for Paper bags like Issaquah. Plus I can use the cleaner non-tree killing bags there if I want.

  2. Anonymous on March 5th, 2013 7:58 pm

    My wife and I live in the East Renton highlands and always come to Issaquah to do our grocery shopping along with any other shopping we need to do. Unfortunatly now because of this “bag ban” along with being forced to buy paper bags (that we will not use daily like we use the plastic bags) we will no longer spend our money in the city of Issaquah! We will be going to Renton for all of our needs.

  3. Anonymous on March 6th, 2013 11:46 am

    Every plastic bag that comes into my home is reused at least once – carrying lunches, lining small garbage bins, scooping cat litter. Ban or no ban, the need for plastic is still there, but now my option is to buy larger, thicker garbage bags that will also end up in the landfill.

    Or – better yet – I can exercise my power as a consumer and shop outside of Issaquah. At turnkey margins, I estimate Issaquah grocers will need to sell at least 144K paper bags to replace my lost business. Multiply that by all the other consumers who choose to do the same…

    Last, it’s smarmy comments like in this editorial that really motivate me to shop elsewhere.

  4. Ken Hughes on March 8th, 2013 7:46 am

    Just had my first shopping trip with no bag (I forgot my reuseable bag). I’m with the others, I’m headed out of Issaquah to do my shopping – not a big deal since we live in Mirrormont. I’m all for the plastic bag ban – although, now I’ll have to buy what I need to replace them. Just can’t understand how the city can dictate that paper bags must cost $.05. I’m off to Renton. Sorry Issaquah.

  5. Smoley on March 8th, 2013 6:03 pm

    >>It’s time for those who choose to shop in Issaquah to get with the program. Shopping locally is the right thing to do, just as is learning to carry reusable bags — no matter where you shop.<<

    Well let me tell you Mr/Ms."Staff", would you like to know what the "right thing to do" really is? It's staying out of my dang business of where I shop, what sort of bag I bring home, and what I end up doing with it.

    You live your life the way you want, and I'll do the same and we'll get along just fine. It's when you starting trying to solve a non-existent problem with goofy feel-good legislation and then push that nonsense on to others that you run into trouble.

    You took away my choice of what sort of bag I wanted to use (and using a reusable bag has always been a choice for you – knock yourself out), so I'm using the one freedom you cannot take away – my choice to shop elsewhere.

    Tonight I'm going to shop for a week's worth of groceries in Sammamish and then I'll be having dinner afterwards in Klahanie. That's money and tax revenue that would have normally gone to Issaquah going elsewhere and it's going to happen every week, because in my family, exercising our freedom of choice IS called "getting with the program".

    Keep up the good work.

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