Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Seattle City Council passes progressive legislation to discourage disposable bags

The Seattle City Council just approved a twenty cent per bag charge on disposable paper or plastic shopping bags as well as a ban on foam containers for food from takeout restaurants. The legislation will effect in January 2009.

I heard the news as I was headed to the grocery cooperative and am going about collecting "permanent" shopping bags we can use. It will also be a relief to stop seeing those indestructible styrofoam containers before long!

The Council voted six to one to enact the legislation, with only Jan Drago dissenting. She said that people like to use the plastic bags for their garbage - a pretty lame excuse for opposing this ordinance. Plastic bags shouldn't even be used as trash liners because most are not biodegradable.

A ban on foam trays used for raw meat and seafood at grocery stores is set to take effect in July 2010. Seattle is not the first city to pass legislation discouraging or prohibiting plastic bags, however. Los Angeles just passed such a ban (which takes effect if the state of California does not pass its own), following in the footsteps of San Francisco, which was first.

According to this rather interesting article in Time magazine, China has banned the distribution of free plastic bags. Restrictions have also been placed on plastic bags in Bhutan, Ireland, Uganda, Zanzibar, and thirty villages in Alaska. Scores of other municipalities and countries are expected to do the same.


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