Thursday, July 30, 2009

Plastic bag issue--heating up

Looks like things are getting nasty now.


"Seattle bag tax wouldn't reduce garbage"

Seattle's proposed 20-cent fee on disposable shopping bags would reduce the city's yearly garbage output by just .0014 percent, according to an analysis by a business-friendly think tank.

Proponents of the bag tax, the fate of which will be decided by voters Aug. 18, say the study is "a complete farce."

The Washington Policy Center said in its review that bag fee supporters estimate the levy would reduce the amount of garbage Seattle sends to an Oregon landfill by 50 loaded railroad cars a year. However Seattle generates about 100 railroad cars of garbage per day, six days a week. According to the American Chemistry Council, the lobbying group for the plastics industry which is spending more than $1 million to defeat the Seattle bag tax, plastic grocery and retail bags make up less than .5 percent of solid municipal waste in the country.

"Assuming the bag tax policy performs as supporters promise, it would reduce the yearly amount of garbage produced by Seattle by .0014 percent," says the WPC analysis.

Rob Gala, spokesman for the Seattle Green Bag campaign, dismissed the WPC study.

"There's no substantive analysis behind their claims," he said.

Seattle Public Utilities says people in the city throw away 360 million paper and plastic shopping bags each year - equal to 8,5000 tons of greenhouse gases. Of that number, about 240 million bags end up in the garbage - 4 percent of all residential waste by volume, SPU says.

In July of 2008 Seattle was one of the first major American cities to discourage the use of paper and plastic shopping bags by requiring grocery, drug and convenience stores to charge 20 cents per bag. The new rule was to take effect Jan. 1, but a coalition funded largely by the American Chemistry Council gathered enough signatures to keep the ordinance from going into effect. That caused the City Council to ultimately ask city residents now they felt about "green" bag fees in next month's election.

Proponents of the bag fee say similar programs in Ireland have cut plastic and paper bag use by 90 percent. But critics say the fee is unnecessary and just one more tax placed on a tax-weary Seattle populace.

Recent polling suggests people in Seattle are against the idea of the disposable bag fee.

American Chemistry Council fights a proposed Seattle plastic bag fee


Timothy said...

all of my trash cans are small and the grocery bags fit perfectly....this will only force me to buy larger cans and larger bags...equal...more plastic garbage

Blackdove said...

Many grocery bags nowadays ARE biodegradable, although they look like plastic. Here's a nifty way to convert these grocery bags into trash bags. It's easy to do, convenient to use, and earth-friendly.