Backing the bag fee: CoolMoms @ Thriftway today

In the same spot where we first saw a signature-gatherer with anti-bag-fee petitions eight days ago, by the southwest door at Thriftway, co-founder Kristy Royce of West Seattle (with some help!) showed support for it this afternoon by giving out free reusable shopping bags. A group of north-end CoolMoms had something similar planned at a store in their area.

44 Replies to "Backing the bag fee: CoolMoms @ Thriftway today"

  • Bettytheyeti August 18, 2008 (7:48 pm)

    Thanks I am neither a Mom or Cool but applaude your activism. I shop the Thriftway and told the “other” petitioners I do not agree with their position. I bring my own grocery carrier. I also agree with your car vacation on Alki. Bout time!

  • Steve August 18, 2008 (8:15 pm)

    Way to go! It’s great to see West Seattlites walking the talk!

  • Jessie August 18, 2008 (8:22 pm)

    I was tricked by the other petitioner. Really annoying. Nice to see someone who really cares about and issue and is doing something about it! Also, was there, thanks Thriftway for donating the bags.

  • beachwalker August 18, 2008 (8:46 pm)

    I was at the Admiral Safeway this weekend and a petitioner wanted me to sign something against the bag “tax”. I told her it was misleading to call it a tax. This is a tactic to frame the issue in a way that will influence some who don’t want more “taxes”. (If someone wants to avoid the fee it is certainly easy to do so.) Why are some so resistant to doing small things that can have a great impact on the planet? It’s time to take steps that are different than what we were used to in the past!

  • JumboJim August 18, 2008 (9:08 pm)

    Nice work CoolMoms! I appreciate your thinking outside the bag on this issue.

  • OP August 18, 2008 (10:05 pm)

    Why are some so resistant to doing small things that can have a great impact on the planet?

    And why do activists profess to know what’s good for everyone else and reduce our standard of living. This is NOT a serious step toward “saving the planet” and won’t have a “great impact”—there are ZERO stats to back up that claim. You want to tote around your ‘green’ bag, fine, please do so. But stop forcing the rest of society to pay for your imminently debatable cause of “saving the earth’. (And yes, it IS a tax; a backdoor one. Mayor Quimby can call it a ‘fee’ until his blue in the face.)

    Finally, it is exactly these socialist taxes like this that eat slowly away at our democratic freedoms. What gets taxed next that in the good of all our names? Only Al and his Eco-Eeyors know…

  • Brandon August 18, 2008 (11:03 pm)

    Bravo CP. In the interest of being greener, I now shop 1x week, rather than 3-4. My cart is fuller now since I take less trips and buy more at that one stop. I am saving the environment by leaving a smaller carbon footprint and using less gas. But now I am penalized by needing more bags because I don’t own 10 or 12 recyclable ones (I own about 4). How does that save the planet by paying .20 and using less gas?? Do I shop more often and re-use the bags, thus using more gas? How do I tote my 2 toddlers around at the same time? Yes, that plastic bag savings is really the only issue the clowncil needs to focus on. BTW, you missed the signature gatherer at Jefferson Square….his clip board was packed. I think many otheres agree on the waste of time and energy, not the waste of effort. How are those extra garbage trucks each week in the neighborhood fixing the carbon footprint folks?

  • Evan Dando August 18, 2008 (11:06 pm)

    @OP: “until his blue in the face” what? You are talking nonsense. Puh-leeze!

  • John August 18, 2008 (11:16 pm)

    Glad to finally understand that we really do not have a gas tax in this state. Nope, but there is a user fee of $0.37 per gallon for using the roads. Sorry about the incidental gas lawnmower user having to pay this fee for a non road-use activity.

  • Sage K August 19, 2008 (12:25 am)

    GET OVER IT most major stores have reusable bags for $1. Quite easy to get multiples and leave them in your trunk. It also makes it easier to carry heavy/full bags.

    I rotate mine in and out. I use the bags to bring the groceries in, then fill them up with recycling and when I empty the recycling I throw them in the trunk for grocery shopping.

  • Sue August 19, 2008 (4:42 am)

    Who will profit from the .20 charge? Is it profit for the stores, does it go to schools, where does it end up? Will the .20 be added after the total on the grocery bill or after the subtotal so that it does get taxed?

  • FlyintheOintment August 19, 2008 (8:06 am)

    Isn’t it distinctly uncool to refer to one’s self as “cool?” The bag-fee is cosmetic. Much like the Cornucopians who DRIVE to the grocery store, yet find it necessary to extol the benefits of reusable bags.

  • Alki August 19, 2008 (8:18 am)

    Anybody who doesn’t think bags are bad for the environment… take a trip to see where your garbage goes. You will see piles and piles of plastic bags and plastic water bottles. Just because the waste isn’t in our own yards, it doesn’t mean it’s not creating waste. This should be a non-issue. West Seattle should be debating the important issues, not issues that are going to help future generations.

  • Audrey August 19, 2008 (9:26 am)

    I totally agree with the FlyintheOintment comments, even though I support the bag fee as of now. What is what the SUV drivers who get out their reusable bags out of their oversized trunk? Pretty lame. They probably live about 5 blocks away, which would be even more annoying. The bag fee is cosmetic, but if it means I see less plastic bags on the Hudson street stair by my place, then I will be happy. However, you cannot force people to care. There will still be old Cheeto bags and wine boxes there.
    In support, I really don’t think $2 (.20 x 10) will make a difference for families that are in a budget crunch. I heard this mom complaining about the gas prices and her children sucked down grande frappuccinos. Bite me lady, you just spend $12 on your kid’s drinks. I know she doesn’t represent everyone, but if this forces people to re-examine their budget, I think that’s a good thing. If they don’t re-exaine their budget, it obviously isn’t effecting them that much.
    Maybe someone will get on Safeway for putting one item in a bag and then tossing it in the cart. You can easily end up with 15 bags for 10 items there. I would give them a piece of my mind if I was paying per bag. Also why I don’t go to Safeway….

  • Kristy August 19, 2008 (10:07 am)

    There are actually plenty of stats on countries who have added bag fees and seen huge reductions in plastic bag usage. In Ireland, after a fee was implimented, the bag usage went down by 90%. In South Africa it was an 80% reduction. Shopping is a simple action that you do weekly and this habit reminds you every week that there are easy choices you can make that lessen your impact on the environment. This coupled with many other actions DO add up. If you bring the bags then there is no charge. So not bringing them, is a choice, and you are choosing to pay the 20 cent fee.

    Anybody who is against this should take a trip to the dump or Google Pacific Garbage Patch. For the record only 1% of plastic bags are recycled. These are small steps, but they are important, and they are symbolic.

    P.S. I drive a Prius, not an SUV. I’m sure that will pull in a few comments from the ranters.

  • Brandon August 19, 2008 (10:25 am)

    Fine. Tax the bags. But when do you go after the McDonalds people for their bags. how many times do you see burger wrappes and bags flying across the parking lots after they have been dumped. Why not bag them too? I’ll bet there is more fast food bags and trash out there than shopping bags.

  • Kristy August 19, 2008 (11:10 am)

    From what I have learned the reason they choose grocery stores and drug stores is because the bulk (70% – I think) of plastic bags come from grocery and drug stores. There has been quite a bit of research on this. for those that are interested here is a link:

    I agree about the fast food items, but I guess it is one step at a time.

  • OP August 19, 2008 (12:28 pm)

    @OP: “until his blue in the face” what? You are talking nonsense. Puh-leeze!

    Pardon the typo. If you’re poo-pooing my point based on a typo, that’s the mother of all nitty deflections.

  • Chris August 19, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    Ridiculous…the groceries are all covered in plastic wrapping or themselves in small plastic bags. The only bag that has any reuse value is the bag to carry it all, plus is recyclable. We all throw away the other plastic, pretty much. The fee makes us feel good but does nothing but costs us all more money. I used to choose plastic over paper thinking I was saving trees all this time. Better to keep it a personal choice and bag the fee!

  • Danno August 19, 2008 (2:08 pm)

    Right On OP!
    BTW I went by the Thriftway yesterday, and listened to one of these ‘fee supporters’ say “and the big chemical companies are about to pour huge money into it….” Puleeze. We sure have to stop those evil chemical companies. This woman’s car was so stuffed with garbage (recycling?) it was amazing she could see out to drive, and the car was splattered with every leftist socialist bumper sticker imaginable. A real help to ‘fee supporter’ credibility. NOT! Like we should live our lives this way? NOT!

    For the record, I use Met Mkt’s reusable bags, but I don’t believe this bag TAX will make one iota of difference for the planet. I am sick and tired of liberals telling everyone else how to live their lives, while they go on as before or worse. The prime example is the biggest hypocrite of all, Al Gore. Google his latest energy bill data and learn for yourselves. Oh, I forgot, he is carbon neutral since he buys carbon credits (from his own company). I like that kind of accounting. What a farce.

  • Nancy Folsom August 19, 2008 (2:48 pm)

    So. Moms were handing out free bags at Thriftway. Thriftway, a store mostly frequented by people well able to buy their own bags.

    Howzabout if Cool Moms collect money from Thriftway and Met. Market shoppers to buy reusable bags to giveaway at the White Center Safeway.

  • Nancy Folsom August 19, 2008 (2:52 pm)

    Hey, Danno! I resemble that remark! :-D I’m so liberal I make my father turn over in his grave, and I even have, well, just one, but still, one liberal bumber sticker on my car. And I was carrying reusuable bags when I stopped to sign the petition. So, no need to resort to name calling.

  • Nancy Folsom August 19, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    Sue – you can read the text of the ordnance here: Search for SMC 21.40.075, which is the section about who keeps what part the fee.

  • Michael August 19, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    Yay on the moms! Boo hiss on the petrochemical corporations!

  • Michael August 19, 2008 (4:43 pm)

    And as far as “reducing our standard of living” – funniest thing I’ve read in a long, long time. I hope it was sarcasm because that’s the only way it makes sense.

  • Danno August 19, 2008 (4:45 pm)

    I did not call anyone a name, I used common descriptive words. I described bumper stickers, not people. If you or anyone else is ‘offended’ by “liberal” or “socailist, ” then so be it. I call’em like I see’em, but I don’t call people names. Well, except Algore, but I dare anyone to refute his hypocrity.

  • Sue August 19, 2008 (5:22 pm)

    Nancy, Thanks for the info. Very interesting reading.

  • Brandon August 19, 2008 (10:25 pm)

    Seattle’s rate of plastic recycling is 13% vs the national average of 3%. Why do we have a problem here that needs a tax?

  • T De August 20, 2008 (6:39 am)

    Even if you don’t believe the planet is warming because of human activity; refuse to believe that carbon emissions have a negative impact; don’t believe that anyone can do anything about anything; wouldn’t it be nice to join in a community effort over something that tries to have a positive impact? Will you criticize every effort to try and do good because every community effort is too small to have a global impact in your eyes or might somehow be a bother to you? How would you start to make a difference? How would you reduce trash in the landfills? How would you begin to reduce our dependency on foreign petroleum? What good ideas will you promote to bring a community together?

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

  • Steve August 20, 2008 (8:12 am)

    Start recycling – your Nickels and the rest of the city council!

  • charlatans all of ya August 20, 2008 (8:40 am)

    And I thought cool moms were cool…
    paying for plastic doesn’t help the planet but no doubt there are those who will console themselves with this ruse
    we currently only bag in plastic, using extra bags for the heavy stuff and extra bags lightly packed for the light stuff so the “children” can carry the bags on the walk home. Hoarding. Four more months of this and we’ll have to move the SUV out of the garage to store them all…
    Then we’ll simply revert to paying for plastic when we want plastic and asking for paper when we want paper
    you do-gooders who want to console yourselves with these ceremonial gestures carry on. if you need someone to vent on in your frustration we’ll be the family in line at Thriftway and Safeway asking for plastic and we’ll welcome your glares and stares and commentary. We may even bring some plastic into PCC on a slow day…

  • Nancy Folsom August 20, 2008 (9:47 am)

    Danno, sheesh. Did you miss my smile? The fact that I’m opposed to the tax. Don’t lose your sense of humor.

    T De, as have others, you take the position of anti-fee as pro-trash, pro-pollution. Either your logic is faulty, or you’re knowingly mis-characterizing your opponents because you cannot refute our reasoning.

    Kristy is the only one in this thread who presents rational, and excellent, btw, reasons +for+ the fee. (I’ve read the info about Ireland, and it is compelling.)

  • Nancy Folsom August 20, 2008 (9:58 am)

    Here’s an interesting looking link:
    It purports to be a site collecting all the different articles, etc. about the issue. The owners are economists and are, they say, unaffiliated with any side.

  • Nancy Folsom August 20, 2008 (10:15 am)

    Kristy- I hope you’ll read the link to the economists analysis of the bag fee. I’d love to discuss the implications of the Irish experience with you. Not sure the blog comments are the appropriate place. (WSB is v. obliging.) Unfortunately the opponents comments that it will likely result in more consumption of heavier plastic for trash cans, etc, is borne out. “Plastic garbage bags are widely re-used by consumers, with research indicating that 80
    percent of people re-use garbage bags in their household as, e.g., garbage can liners or
    lunch bags. Ireland’s PlasTax was followed by large increases in the sale of plastic
    garbage bags and bin liners.”

  • Donna August 20, 2008 (10:52 am)

    I drive a hybrid, I walk to the grocery store, and I carry my groceries home without bags in my daughter’s stroller. When I do get a bag, it gets reused until it breaks, then I recycle it. And I am totally against this bag tax. Read it. It hurts low income households. For those who say get over it, it’s only 20 cents, that 20 cents goes along with the rising price of food, gas, and electricity. And I don’t believe people should have to feel guilty if they want to buy a coffee drink instead of paying for their recyclable grocery bags to support environmental benefits that are questionable at best. It is a stick when no carrot has been tried first.

  • Brandon August 20, 2008 (12:00 pm)

    T De: the flaw in your argument is “start”. You overlook the fact that everyone does forms of recycling already, under the watchful eye of our garbage collectors. They examine our garbage and refuse pickup if there are recycling items in the trash. This is why we have cardboard and glass bins in EVERY hone. Some homes pay extra for green and grass recycling. So you see, don’t harp on the “lets start”, “you’re not doing enough” because city law requires everybody to already do it. Get off you soap box. Get on the apartment crews that don’t recycle, some of them are the ones who need your soap box more than the rest of us.

    BTW, my solution to the bags will be if I forget them in the car, I will walk from the cashier to my car and retrieve them. making everyone wait behind me unless someone pitches in for my .20. Or, just put the groceries back in to the cart, and bag them when I get to the car. NAHH.

  • Kristy August 21, 2008 (6:44 pm)

    We did handout bags at Safeway the next day, but it was not covered by the blog. I think it is a great idea to handout the bags all over and we as a group are making an effort to do this. But, somehow, I think that the ranters on this blog will find a way to find fault with this as they seem to with just about everything.

  • Kristy August 21, 2008 (11:24 pm)

    Nancy – I will try to read your link this weekend. With a 3 and 2 year old, and a business, not too much time. I would like to learn of the arguement. I know in our household we do now have to buy garbage bags and we buy bio-degradable bags, but we only use two small ones a week at most and were going through at least 15 plastic grocery bags a week when we were on the plastic ones. So I wonder what people could be using ALL those bags for? We have a dog and do the poo pickup thing, but use bread bags, salad bags. We have kids, so clearly are familair with diapers… but who says you need to wrap them in plastic. I agree there is no perfect solution, but bringing your own bags is just so easy. And the city had planned over $10,000 to buy bags for low income people. It really is just people not wanting to change. Bottom line is global warming, peak oil will make us change the way we live regardless of the ranters liking it or not. It is only a matter of time. When the changes starts (actually it has, look at gas and food prices), this bag issue is going to look even more trivial than it is. Scary thing is that if we can’t even do something as simple as this, then we are basically screwed as far as global warming goes. This does not bode well for our children. And if anybody would like to get into a legitmate email conversation about climate change/global warming then I am happy to do so. It is very real and it is the largest threat we face on this planet.

  • Nancy Folsom August 22, 2008 (11:30 am)

    Kristy, A correction. Again. Opponents of the fee are not pro-bag. Opponents are not anti-environment. We are opposed to the fee. I’m growing weary of having to repeat it, but I will each time the unfair characterization is repeated.

    Please do read my citation. It would be respectful, since I’ve read it to understand your position. It behooves you to understand _all_ the arguments, not just yours.

  • Donna August 22, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    I am not a ranter. An opposing view is not a rant. This is a poorly-crafted mandate that disproportionately affects those that have the fewest number of options. Like I mentioned above, I carry my groceries home in a stroller, with no bags. But I live in North Admiral, within easy walking distance to three major grocery stores. How many grocery stores are walkable from Delridge? Handing out free bags is not the answer. It’s not like people don’t already have bags at home they can re-use now. Most people will just end up paying the fee, raising even more their overall cost of goods.

  • Kristy August 22, 2008 (4:26 pm)

    Nancy – I will read you link this weekend. I am sorry, with the kids and work,and the non-profit my time is too limited. After reading I will post commment. Or, if you like we could continue our conversation off line. Please be patient with me, as we also have relatives in town as well. Have a nice weekend.
    Donna – that is great that you walk and use the stoller and do not use bags. It would seem easier to me (given my extensive use of strollers) to put bring a reusable bag, but do what works for you! For me, the reusable bag option works and is another easy way to lesson my impact. As mentioned earlier in Ireland, the plastic bags usage dropped by 90%. My friends from South Africa say it was 80%. But, it sounds like you have other alternatives.

    I am looking forward to reading Nancy’s link this weekend, when I have some spare time (around midnight!). So, perhaps my opinion will change after I have done so.

    All the best to both of you. This is one of the good things about America is that we can all have our different opinions and share them via various diologues. I am sorry if the term “ranter” offended you. I was not refering to either of you. People can (and have) been so nasty for no real reason with regards to environmental issues. Coolmom has atmospheric scientists on our board, both teh driectos and myself have them inour families and we are really a non-profit that works on climate change issues. We took on the bag issue as it is something moms do weekly and we thoguht our membership would identify with it. I am personally so apposed to plastic bags as I have sailed extensively in the South Pacific and am too aware of the garbage patch that is getting bigger by the moment. Our family trys our best to avoid plastic across-the-board, not just those darn grocery bags. But, at the end of the day, we all just do what we can!

    Anyway, best to you ladies and have a good weekend.

  • nfolsom August 22, 2008 (6:25 pm)

    Kristy – I’m grateful that we’re feeling our way to having a real conversation. Thanks for helping with that. I do understand about needing to juggle priorities. I apologize that I jumped to the conclusion that you were try to blow off…um…inconvenient facts. :-) I do feel like a dolt in that I realized WSB has a forum, so perhaps that would be the appropriate venue for these discussions. Regards.

  • Kristy August 26, 2008 (7:00 pm)

    Nancy – sorry for the late response. I looked at the site you suggested

    Great information provided. Really, the best I have seen. I do agree that the bag fee is largely symbolic on the surface. But, I also feel that symbols are very important. Switching to being more environmental is something that happens in stages not something that is done overnight. A shift to bringing your own bags is a habit that you do weekly, or daily. It is a constant reminder that you can make better choices. When we shop, we can buy local, we can buy organic (if affordable) we can buy products with less packaging, we can choose not to buy (most environmental of all) and I feel that bringng your own bags reminds you that you can try to make a better choice. I am sure there are no studies on this, this is something that I think and is purely my opinion.

    Clearly, people will buy more bags to use for their garbage. But, I know from our experience, there is no way to use all those bags and many of them end up in the garbage. Also, really you could just not use bags at all. We use the bio bags, but I have thought of just getting rid of them and just walking the bin out to the garbage.

    To recycle plastic bags take so much energy it is hardly worthwhile.

    Clearly Seattle’s number one problem is the need for better public transit. This should be the priority. No arguement there. But global warming is such a vast, and potentially serious problem, that many things need to be done (yesterday!).

    So, I am still pro green fee, but am very glad that I read your link. Thank you, Nancy.

    Now, we just need to BIKE to the farmers market with you reusable bags and buy local food. This would help the waistline the planet, and the local economy.

  • nfolsom August 26, 2008 (7:22 pm)

    Kristy – Thanks for taking time to read the paper and for posting your thoughts about it.

Sorry, comment time is over.