Bag bans spread around the region
February 27, 2013
Friday begins the Issaquah ban on most retail plastic bags. Plateau shoppers headed to the south should be alert. Like it or not, prepare to bring your own reusable bags, carry out your items without any bag, or pay a nickel for a paper bag. Most stores will also have reusable bags for sale.
The plastic bag ban was adopted last June by the Issaquah City Council, following in the footsteps of Seattle and other Puget Sound cities including Edmonds and Mukilteo. Sammamish should consider joining this growing number of cities.
Concern for the environment was the prime motivator behind the initiative.
According to Issaquah’s website, plastic bags are made from non-renewable 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, about 60 of them in Issaquah. Smaller stores will have another year to implement the bag ban. Stores not complying can be fined for violation of the bag ban.
The Issaquah bag ban does not eliminate all bags. You will still be able to put your broccoli into a 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 don’t think you have to put a pound of bulk nails or screws into your pocket. Dry cleaning plastic bags are also okay as are the plastic bags used to protect your home-delivered newspaper from the rain.
Issaquah has given its businesses and its consumers plenty of time to get used to the idea of change for shoppers. There have been threats by consumers who say they will shop elsewhere.
Now it’s up to those who choose to shop here to get with the program. Shopping locally is the right thing to do, just as is learning to carry in your own bags – no matter where you shop.