Contributed by the Surfrider Foundation, Environment Washington, People For Puget Sound, and the Sierra Club.
A coalition of environmental groups: Environment Washington, Surfrider Foundation, People For Puget Sound, Sierra Club, Zero Waste Seattle, and others – will be in attendance at the Seattle City Council’s public hearing on the proposed bag ordinance Council Bill 117345.
The hearing is today, Monday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Seattle City Hall.
The Bag Ordinance being considered would ban thin single-use plastic bags at checkout stands. The ordinance includes a pass through fee of five cents for paper bags. The ordinance supports the City’s zero waste strategy and efforts to clean up Puget Sound and other essential waterways.
The ordinance is based on an ordinance recently adopted by the City of Bellingham.
“Our members were in strong support in Bellingham,” said Jody Kennedy, Policy Manager with the Surfrider Foundation. “We are seeing the same high level of support in Seattle and in Olympia for reducing single-use plastics. This effort is part of a growing global movement to address the enormous amount of plastic debris polluting our oceans.”
Environment Washington’s recent report on the impacts of plastic bags has generated attention on the immediate impacts in Puget Sound.
“We should ban plastic bags because something we use for a few minutes but then lasts in the environment for hundreds of years can easily be avoided,” said Katrina Rosin, Environment Washington’s Field Director.
Heather Trim, Policy Director for People For Puget Sound, said, “We now have evidence of what happens to plastic bags in the sound. UW Tacoma researchers find tiny bits of plastic in all water samples they have taken in Puget Sound, including pieces of plastic bags.”
The American Chemistry Association and their affiliates argue that instead of a ban, the solution is recycling. Recycling alone will not protect our waters, however. In fact, Seattle’s recycling contractors–Allied Waste and Cedar Grove—both support this effort. The Northwest Grocery Association is also in support.
In addition to protecting water quality, there are other benefits to the bag ordinance such as cost savings and greenhouse gas emissions.
“We see zero waste as part of our overall effort to address climate change,” said Brady Montz of the Sierra Club. “Generating less waste in the first place, means less transport, less disposal, less greenhouse gases.”
This current bag effort is the culmination of four years of persistent outreach by the environmental community in Seattle, including a ramped up but quiet campaign over the past 11 months.
For more information
Environment Washington: www.environmentwashington.org
People For Puget Sound: www.pugetsound.org
Surfrider Foundation: http://ww2.surfrider.org/seattle
Sierra Club, Seattle Group/Washington State Chapter: http://cascade.sierraclub.org
Zero Waste Seattle: www.zerowasteseattle.org