The End of the Plastic Bag in Seattle

from Wildlife Promise

By using reusable bags such as this one we can reduce the amount of single use plastic and paper bags. Photo by: Bryn Fluharty

The Seattle City Council recently voted unanimously to implement a ban on plastic bags in the City of Seattle due to the environmental harm that plastic bags can have and their negative impact on wildlife. Aquatic animals such as fish, whales and seals can be harmed by these bags by ingesting them, chocking on them or be harmed by their toxins. Examples such as the gray whale that was found in West Seattle in 2010 with 20 plastic bags in its stomach highlight this issue.

The ban in Seattle will be put in action in July 2012 and will ban the thin plastic bags found in grocery stores, department stores and other. Paper bags will still be available in stores for a cost of $0.05 per bag. The hope is that the ban will promote the use of reusable bags in place of disposable bags and that the paper bags used will be recycled.

Plastic bags have been seen as an issue throughout the country in cities such as Portland, OR and Washington, DC. Portland opted for a ban on plastic bags while DC chose to implement an additional tax on bags. According to Environment Washington there are 292 million disposable bags given out in Seattle each year. A large portion of these bags end up as trash and in Puget Sound.

Throughout the country communities like Sleepy Hollow New York are working to clean up their areas of plastic bags and protect the planet. If you are interested in ways that you can help protect the planet and reduce waste check out some fun tips from Eco-Schools USA!

Other cities such as Edmonds, Mukilteo and Bellingham have already approved similar bans. Now groups such as Environment Washington are now hoping to expand the plastic bag ban to the rest of the state. Want to take action and help keep plastic bags out of Puget Sound? You can Take Action through Environment Washington and tell your representatives to help our wildlife in Puget Sound!
We want to know how you feel about the ban! Let us know!