Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Grocery plastic-bag ban
I love plastic bags
Editor, The Seattle Times:
I love plastic bags for their usefulness. [“Statewide goodbye to plastic store bag?” NWWednesday, Jan. 11].
Since there is no scientific study of how people use, reuse and recycle plastic bag, I looked at my own plastic-bag usage. While I own several reusable-shopping bags, I generally find it more convenient to use the plastic bags. They are clean and very strong. I would never be able to carry as many heavy items in a paper bag.
I have 100 percent reuse and recycling of plastic bags. This saves me time and money, and the environment because the alternatives are more energy intense.
The problem is not plastic bags, it is litter and the arrogance of a City Council that thinks it knows better than we do. The solution to litter is education and cleanup. When I see litter, I pick it up and put it in a plastic bag. I keep plastic bags in the car to store what might otherwise become litter until I can find a garbage can.
Since the City Council decided it knows better that we do and banned plastic bags, we all will be forced to buy thicker and more energy-consuming trash bags. For messy meats and vegetables, either the store or I will have to provide plastic bags to keep from soiling the reusable bags. Reusable bags are hothouses for bacterial and should be washed after every use.
We will all be forced to spend more money, effort and electrical energy washing and drying the reusable bags or risk illness. All in all, I love plastic bags. The City Council should trust the citizens to do what is right.
Give us back the right to use, reuse and recycling of plastic bags and for the choice to use reusable bags.
— Gary Tripp, Bainbridge Island
The problem is litter, not bags
In his article on plastic-bag bans, Jonathan Kaminsky said Seattle’s ban “was approved unanimously following months of discussion and debate…” [“WA lawmakers seek to ban plastic grocery bags,” Local News, seattletimes.com, Jan. 10].
This is false. The bill was introduced Nov. 21 and signed into law Dec. 19. Voters rejected the 2008 bag tax by an overwhelming majority. A study by Seattle Public Utilities found that 68 percent of residents do not support bag legislation, and 91 percent reuse or recycle plastic bags. Plastic bags make up a fraction of 1 percent of all litter according to every litter-composition study ever done.
The problem is litter, not bags. Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable, require far less energy and resources to manufacture than paper, and unlike reusable bags that are all imported from Asia, most plastic bags are made in the USA, and many right here in Seattle. The extremist-environmental lobbyists at Environment Washington are presenting false claims and misleading information about plastic bag litter.
If they really wanted to eliminate a toxic-littered product from getting in our waters, why not propose a ban on cigarettes? Discarded cigarette butts make up a whopping 35 percent of all litter nationwide, and are filled with deadly toxins that leach into groundwater and damage marine habitats.
— Ken Holmes, Seattle
Don’t force people to comply
Having been a grocery cashier in one of the busiest stores in the area for the past three years, I believe it’s time to hear from those on the front lines regarding the proposed statewide ban on plastic bags. Previous attempts to pass this ban were unsuccessful because of the “will of the people.” Are we yet again going to have to voice our opinion on the subject just to be ignored?
In preparation for the proposed ban to take effect in July, shoppers are currently hoarding both plastic and paper bags to use for recycling or garbage, which is already costing grocers more money. “Please double bag plastic for me; I would like double paper please; I would like paper in plastic, and double the plastic.”
Rarely is anyone satisfied with a single bag of plastic or paper these days. More people are bringing their own, reusable bags, which is a good thing — most of the time. But some of those reusable cloth bags are so filthy they are a detriment to the health of the cashiers that have to load them.
If the goal is to keep plastic bags out of the water, let’s ban them on beaches and boats and fine those responsible instead of forcing people to comply with yet another “law” we have already voiced opposing opinion on.
— Barbara Kinner, Seattle