“Bag the bag tax” group puts up a website

August 12, 2008 at 10:26 pm | In Bag fee battle, Environment, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

banbag.jpgThough it’s not West Seattle-specific, we’re going to keep close tabs on the bag-fee-referendum drive because it’s clear a lot of people are passionate about it – on both sides. So here’s the latest: Jan Gee of Washington Food Industry, recyclebag.jpgthe grocer-advocacy organization that’s gathering signatures to cancel the bag fee/foam ban, points out that their website has gone live at StopTheSeattleBagTax.com. Gee also confirms what we had suspected – this was the first place where the petition drive was reported; they didn’t announce it publicly before signature gatherers like the one we met just started fanning out over the weekend. If you come across anyone organizing a “defend the bag fee” effort, let us know; meantime, one of the fee’s main backers is in West Seattle tomorrow night — City Council president Richard Conlin will be a guest at the 34th District Democrats monthly meeting, 7 pm at The Hall @ Fauntleroy. (Also on the agenda, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, who’s in a tough re-election campaign looking ahead to next Tuesday’s statewide primary.)

31 Comments

  1. “Grocer advocacy”? What’s next, “petroleum refinery activist”? (Actually, I have the feeling the latter is not too far off the reality mark here. What are plastic bags made of?)

    Yes, bringing your own bags is an inconvenience. Protesting an inconvenience is very Seattle, I’d agree, but why?

    Comment by Michael — 10:58 pm August 12, 2008 #

  2. Someone else made the “follow the money” point in another post. I don’t know much about this particular organization but we’ll be looking at public records.

    Comment by WSB — 11:03 pm August 12, 2008 #

  3. Whatever, the whole idea ws a stupid idea to begin with. Our neighbor and mayor has come up with the idea that he is now Captain Planet, and he and his sidekicks, the Nanny State city Clowncil must save the Earth from Seattle’s Killer Grocery Bags (KGB). I mean really, just fill potholes, hire Police and Firemen, and stop advancing wacko enviro theory. Do your jobs.
    That is right. Wacko environmental theory. Let the flamethrowing begin (left-handers only).

    Comment by Danno — 11:13 pm August 12, 2008 #

  4. Think about each person using a plastic bag a day, which is close to the average. Then, think about every person in West Seattle doing this, and put those bags in one big pile in the Junction. A few million bags– and that’s just West Seattle. Now, consider those bags gone, never created, used, recycled… or wasted.

    The one thing that I’m the LEAST hopeful about, amid EVERY issue, is our environment. We can’t DO ENOUGH to raise this issue.

    What will our kids do, let alone 10-15 generations down the line from us? We are setting them up for failure. Whether it starts with one store, or with one percentage point of our waste, we have to start somewhere.

    We should NOT fight any attemps to raise awareness for environmental issues. Especially ones as easy as this one.

    When it come to the poor and underserved, there are provisions that allow them to get bags free, if needed. And, it’s not like we don’t have quite a few bags around that we can reuse.

    I love what Richard Conlin is doing and will support, with every breath, any attempts he makes to make our environment better for the next generation. In all seriousness, it may be that his attempts will be the one thing that will allow us to welcome future generations to this planet.

    Comment by Alki — 11:25 pm August 12, 2008 #

  5. Good luck with that Alki. I reject your ‘every person every day’ palstic bag BS. I only accept paper bags when possible. The law covers PAPER bags too. They biodegrade readily. I will fight as well, but not with every breath as I have many priorities in my life. Watch and see how quickly those of us with common sense repeal Captain Planet and his minions’ stupidity. This whole thing is Environmental Narcicism. ‘Look at me, see how much good I do?!?.’

    Get real, people.

    Comment by Danno — 12:29 am August 13, 2008 #

  6. Although some Seattle residents often recycle or reuse their shopping bags, figures from Seattle Public Utilities waste composition studies show that Seattleites still use approximately 292 million plastic and 68 million paper disposable shopping bags per year.

    There you go. Whatever the number is, it seems way too much.

    I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I have stopped my share of plastic bag usage, and it didn’t take any law or somebody suggesting or asking me to do it before I made the change.

    I also don’t use any plastic water bottles and I’ve started asking local restaurants to use recylcable materials instead of styrafoam when I get a ‘to-go’ box. Aside from those things and downgrading to a small waste basket, those are the only changes I’ve made personally, which I consider just the basics of being a responsible person when it comes to being cognizant and educated about how we can keep West Seattle at the forefront of being sustainable.

    Comment by Alki — 1:18 am August 13, 2008 #

  7. There was a signature gatherer in the U-District today – a neighborhood you would think would support the fee – and he was gathering signatures like gangbusters.

    This referendum will make the ballot in short order and pass handily. Citizen push-back against our increasingly high-handed City Government is long overdue – even if it winds up being on an issue that’s largely symbolic (well, except for what’s left of Seattle’s poor and working class folks – .20 cents times whatever really does add up for them, regardless of what Councilmember Conlin says).

    Comment by Bubbleator — 1:39 am August 13, 2008 #

  8. Thank you for the information and the website link. I am glad someone (first post) thinks protesting is “very Seattle” because I am beginning to believe Seattlites just take whatever is imposed upon them without batting an eye.

    Comment by th — 6:51 am August 13, 2008 #

  9. Oooohhh, Danno. Way to throw caution to the wind with your original and scandalous commentary. “Left-handers only”…such originality and scathing wit! You sir/madame are a maverick and patriot. :/

    Comment by coffee geek — 7:43 am August 13, 2008 #

  10. Geek-

    Stick to the issues, no flamethrowing.

    Comment by Danno — 8:28 am August 13, 2008 #

  11. Banning bags is not a revolutionary idea. It’s already been done in London for instance http://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/766732/London-leaders-press-ahead-plastic-bag-ban/. However, they don’t charge a “tax” on the bags, they just ban the free distribution of them. If the customer wants one, the retailer must charge the customer, with the profits donated to an enviornmentally friendly charity.

    Comment by Al — 9:02 am August 13, 2008 #

  12. The same group that created “Seattle Coalition for Responsible Recycling” is also behind this: the American Chemistry Council.

    http://www.blogginggeorgetown.com/2008/08/chemical-industry-pushes-initiative-to.html

    Comment by tpn — 9:18 am August 13, 2008 #

  13. Just saw that on your site – will “hoist” that into a new related post I have coming up shortly. Thanks; as I posted on your site, I am totally falling down on the job to have not checked whois for that URL – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:55 am August 13, 2008 #

  14. Then why, oh why are we not just outright banning them?!
    If Mayor Gridlock really wanted to do something, then he would have advocated a ban. A tax? Makes he and the clowncil look might greedy.

    Comment by Jeremiah — 10:20 am August 13, 2008 #

  15. Danno- “Whatever, blah blah blah, wacko environmental theory, blah Captain Planet blah. Let the flamethrowing begin (left-handers only).”

    May a thousand patchouli-soaked organic cotton-wearing hippies squat in your backyard. BTW, did you coin “environmental narcissism” yourself? Bravo, chap. Bravo indeed!

    Comment by coffee geek — 10:21 am August 13, 2008 #

  16. I think more and more how much a lot of you WSB-ers must hate it here. The plethora of parks, the beauty, the mild weather, the health/environmental conscious attitude. It’s sheer hell! Perhaps a locale with a more conservative slant would suit your fancy. Say…Lincoln, NE. Or Butte, MT. Seattle sucks with it’s fancy-shmancy concern for pollution. You should move. Far away.

    Comment by coffee geek — 10:26 am August 13, 2008 #

  17. I dunno–in both of those places, grocery stores are doing the reusable-bag thing. It’s not legislated yet, though.

    I started using cloth bags last year because honestly, it’s easier for me to do so: the bags I have are beach bag-sized (they came from professional conferences I attend for work) with handles long enough to put them over my shoulder. One of ‘em’s big enough for a week’s groceries, and I take them to the farmer’s markets, too.

    Comment by G. Williams — 10:53 am August 13, 2008 #

  18. WSB, my eyes must be failing me because I don’t see the place where one can sign the petition on the StopTheSeattleBagTax link or that WFI site. Little help?

    Comment by OP — 1:05 pm August 13, 2008 #

  19. pretty damn sure there’s a LOT larger environmental issues with plastic BABY DIAPERS than there are with grocery bags. I get Paper -most- of the time, but keep a stash of plastic ones for the dog poop. The bag tax is pure stupidity. Tax the Diapers. And every thing ELSE that gets packaged in NON RECYCLEABLE plastic (like just about everything you get from Costco).

    Comment by grr — 4:27 pm August 13, 2008 #

  20. I’m new to the neighborhood…

    Is West Seattle officially the most conservative, right wing neighborhood in Seattle? Or is it WSB? Or does WSB attract that demographic?

    Comment by andy — 4:32 pm August 13, 2008 #

  21. Isn’t there a code that states it is mandatory to use garbage bags in the garbage can because otherwise it attracts rodents? If not a code then I know I at least read that on Seattle Public Utilities literature as a recommendation.

    How about focusing on another more important issue that affects litter even more. Obesity. Yep, if we ate less and got our kids to eat less and thus got ourselves back in line with our doctor’s target weights we would be eating so much less the amount of all sorts of garbage would diminish significantly. Visualize dropping 500 calories per day for most of us and how many more pounds of oil we’d also save in plastic bags just because we’re carting less food home. Not to mention how many fewer OJ jugs and yogurt containers, etc.

    The airlines would appreciate it too since they say they can tell their fuel costs are up because collectively we weigh 10 pounds more than a decade ago.

    Comment by John — 9:19 pm August 13, 2008 #

  22. I’m new to the neighborhood…

    Is West Seattle officially the most conservative, right wing neighborhood in Seattle? Or is it WSB? Or does WSB attract that demographic?

    I could make SO many sarcastic jokes and quips that WOULD definitely make me a strong candidate for getting banned, but out of respect for this really great site, I won’t….

    But DUDE, this may seriously trump my personal Comment of the Week candidate!!! I can’t decide if it’s tongue in cheek or laughably serious, but either way, sheer bloggin’ gold! LMAO

    Comment by OP — 10:49 pm August 13, 2008 #

  23. I also have to note that you can’t judge the entire readership based on what you read in comments. Again, this isn’t just the way it works for our site but for many whose operators I’ve met and/or talked to – only a relatively small percentage of readers ever comment. Today, for example, more than 6,200 homes/businesses have already stopped by. Fewer than 2% of them have commented – and that’s on a day that’s fairly busy for comments, with hot topics from bags to booze to crime – and that’s par for the course. Same way I use the Internet, and probably you too – I read at least a hundred things a day on various sites and comment maybe on one or two max. — TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:44 pm August 13, 2008 #

  24. RE: diapers, whats a more valuable resource; real estate, or water, electricity and gray water?

    Comment by Brandon — 10:53 am August 14, 2008 #

  25. IF you want to go after a bigger fish, why not track the apartment tennants who don’t recycle at all, instead of plastic bags.

    Comment by Brandon — 10:54 am August 14, 2008 #

  26. I’m new to the neighborhood…

    Is West Seattle officially the most conservative, right wing neighborhood in Seattle? Or is it WSB? Or does WSB attract that demographic?

    I’ve been in WS for over 15 years. I can’t even remember when we had a Republican state rep or senator. If this is as conservative as Seattle gets, that would be a depressing thought. :-)

    Comment by Jenny — 11:10 am August 14, 2008 #

  27. I think more and more how much a lot of you WSB-ers must hate it here. The plethora of parks, the beauty, the mild weather, the health/environmental conscious attitude. It’s sheer hell! … You should move. Far away.

    I’ve mentioned this before – it’s not the Gaia worship that gets me; that’s just part of Seattle’s charm. And seriously, our plethora of parks & greenbelts are an outstanding resource. It’s this liberal attitude that each one of us is a cog in a greater Social Machine that our betters, the Social Engineers, can & should be Intelligently Designing thru the use of coercive government edicts.

    Has this attitude always been part of Seattle, or is this a recent innovation gifted to us by all you immigrants from California?

    (Full disclosure: I’m a 20-year immigrant from Detroit myself. In the last few decades it has produced LOTS of greenbelts… which used to be known as “neighborhoods with houses”. You couldn’t pay me enough to move back there. :))

    Detroit’s urban prairies

    Comment by Jenny — 11:31 am August 14, 2008 #

  28. re: IF you want to go after a bigger fish, why not track the apartment tennants who don’t recycle at all, instead of plastic bags.
    Comment by Brandon

    I’ve seen several of your comments re apts not recycling; what’s that about; I live in apt; we have 22 apts in my building, and the garbage/recycle containers are under my window; I see the recycle trucks pu; I can assure you that all the apts here recycle like crazy, often overflowing and have to wait for recycle pick up to put more recycled items in containers

    Comment by Diane — 12:35 pm August 14, 2008 #

  29. Diane, i commend you and your building’s efforts, but it is not required in all buildings;

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/366491_webltrs11.html

    >>” I am writing because of a concern about recycling laws in Seattle. In January 2005, Seattle established some new laws for recycling and enforcement went into effect in January 2006. However, it seems that many are exempt. I live in a subsidized housing called Haddan Hall part of Plymouth Housing Group. After talking to the Seattle Public Utilities and to someone in the mayor’s office, it seems that Haddan Hall is exempt simply because they refused to recycle. So the contract to have trash pick up was canceled and the law can be enforced only if they have a contract?

    Are they kidding? Apparently not. I am an avid recycler and would like to recycle, but cannot simply because my apartment building refuses to do so and the city refuses to enforce the law or make the law so it is enforceable. An unenforceable law is no law at all. I was told I could move, the waiting list for subsidized housing is one to two years.”<<

    It’s not required:

    http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Recycling/Recycle_at_Your_Apartment/Start_Apartment_Recycling/index.asp

    Comment by Brandon — 1:12 pm August 14, 2008 #

  30. I’ll admit that I’m completely lost on the laziness of individuals not wanting to own and reuse their own bags. Is it really that difficult for the many of you to not have your own shopping bags? Did you already forget that even China is banning plastic bags. China will be removing them completely and requiring people to bring their own. Are we going to be that lazy and that unconcerned about our environmental future? We are a Country full of lazy crying individuals.

    Comment by John — 3:23 pm August 14, 2008 #

  31. And John, I’m completely lost on how people don’t seem to get the other crux of the argument. It’s not about bringing your own damn bags. If “China does it, its good??” Thats a new one. One point is that people are being charged for something arbitrarily. If bags are bad, ban them all! Don’t try to tell me some are good, some are ok, and others you will pay for and the clowncil dictates what is what. Get rid of them all. From Nordy’s to Bartell’s to McDonalds. How many burger wrappers do you see dumped in parking lots (don’t even get me started on those fools).

    Why should Safeway, Thriftway, FM and Alby’s do the dirty work for the city, and they disguise it as environmental. If it starts here, then what gets taxed next, a glass of water in a resteraunt? Ice cubes? Gum wrappers because they litter the city? (Yes!) How about giving people the incentive of a rebate for bringing a bag (i know, some do already) John, not everyone lives their life on the express of Green Earth. That’s ok. Remember next time you forget to turn a light off how much damage you did to the waterways of the NW. I just want the Council and Hizzonor to stop peeing down my back and telling me its raining ;) Let’s not forget we are a country that does care, and not needlessly stereotype everyone who wants to watch dog the government tax machine as people who don’t care about future generations.

    Comment by Brandon — 9:44 pm August 14, 2008 #

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