Update: City Council passes Triangle rezoning, plastic-bag ban

2:07 PM: Click the “play” button and you’ll see the live video stream of this afternoon’s Seattle City Council meeting, which has just begun, with two items of particular note on the agenda: West Seattle Triangle rezoning (approved by the council’s Committee on the Built Environment three weeks ago) and the plastic-bag ban. We’ll add updates here if and when the public-comment period at the meeting’s start includes Triangle comments, as well as when the Triangle and bag-ban items come up.

2:22 PM: The public-comment period ended with no one stepping up to the podium to talk about Triangle rezoning, which is a few items away on the agenda. Most of the commenters talked about the plastic-bag ban, including, as seen in our framegrab above, the “Bagmonster Singers,” who serenaded councilmembers with a song to the tune of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

2:31 PM: And here’s the Triangle item, which is actually two items – rezoning/changing development standards, and recommending a parking study for the area. Councilmember Sally Clark opens by saying it all dates back to the closure of the Huling Brothers auto properties (briefly Gee Automotive after Huling) and concern over what would happen to the area with so much vacant land. She hands the microphone to Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who as she said has been closely involved in planning for the area’s future. He says RapidRide (scheduled to start in 2012) also was a spark to get the process going, beginning with an “urban-design framework.” He notes that it included a plan for The Triangle’s “streetscapes,” including the Fauntleroy Way “boulevard” concept (the new city budget includes planning money) and SW Snoqualmie as a “festival” street. And of course, it includes rezoning – “neighborhood commercial” that “encourages pedestrian-friendly development” for much of the heart of The Triangle, which he says will also strengthen the pedestrian connection between The Junction and The Triangle. The latter was not recommended for more height, he explains, so as not to put “more pressure” for sales/development of existing commercial properties – but the Fauntleroy/Alaska/Edmunds area includes more than 2 blocks that will be rezoned to 85 feet (20 feet higher than the current zoning).

2:40 PM: Council President Richard Conlin says “congratulations” and notes the importance of the legislation to West Seattle’s future, before Rasmussen reads the list of Triangle Advisory Committee members and also acknowledges DPD and Council staffers for their work. No comments from other councilmembers. The rezoning/development standards bill (read it here) passes unanimously 9-0, as does the recommendation for a parking study. No other councilmembers comment.

2:45 PM: Now Councilmember Mike O’Brien is explaining the plastic-bag ban. You can still use plastic bags for meat and produce in grocery stores, he notes. For this too, no councilmembers are commenting or asking questions, except for Council President Conlin, who thanks O’Brien, who in turn thanks “partners” for help with the bill (including WSB sponsors PCC Natural Markets and Metropolitan Market). The bill passes unanimously; there’s applause in council chambers.

3:15 PM: The official news releases from council staff: West Seattle Triangle rezoning, here; plastic-bag ban, here. The bag ban takes effect next July 1st.

77 Replies to "Update: City Council passes Triangle rezoning, plastic-bag ban"

  • WSTroll December 19, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    Wtf! Things like banning plastic bags are what turns people into republicans. I can’t believe that passed. Shame on them.

  • Alex December 19, 2011 (3:18 pm)

    I still don’t get it. How does banning plastic bags help anything? Now I’m going to have to buy plastic garbage can liners instead of reusing my free grocery sacks. It’s going to be the same amount of plastic used in the end anyway, except now I have to pay for it. WTF? I agree, this is a ridiculous hippy law we just passed, and it makes us normal liberal Seattleites look like idiots that we agreed to it.

  • Colleen December 19, 2011 (3:18 pm)

    Don’t like legislating feelings, but at least the council dropped the fee and had an actual plan for low income shoppers. Can’t help but wonder if this is going to be another round of signatues and a vote. Not that it seemed to stop the council last time.

  • questionable December 19, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    If a ban on plastic bags actually impacts you in any way, you’re doing something wrong.

  • Doug December 19, 2011 (3:36 pm)

    Questionable: What am I doing wrong when I use what few plastic bags I get from shopping as my trash bags/food scrap bags?

  • RP December 19, 2011 (3:41 pm)

    Ahhhh, I’ll have an extra drawer in my kitchen free to fill with other junk . :O)

  • J December 19, 2011 (3:42 pm)

    Nice to see our council make decisions with zero research or knowledge. Way to go Seattle officials, once again you prove your incompetence (sure your not Seattle school district employees).

  • ?&! December 19, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    Next session they’re gonna propose brown paper underpants we can dispose of in the garden.

  • WSTroll December 19, 2011 (4:03 pm)

    >>If a ban on plastic bags actually impacts you in any way, you’re doing something wrong.

    There are a zillion things they could ban that wouldn’t impact me, but that doesn’t mean they should. What is next? AAA batteries? Baby formula? R rated movies?

  • foyboy December 19, 2011 (4:04 pm)

    This is just another case of social engineering by those who think they are the social elite and know what is best for everyone. When is this progresive social elites attitude going to stop in seattle? I can’t wait to fill a shopping cart and when they ask for my GREEN bag that was made in china , I will say I forgot it and just walk away. I’m sure I will not be the only one to show this form of protest.

  • Casey December 19, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    I may not have read all the details but let me get this straight…when the ban takes effect if you go to the store without a bag you have to just carry everything one by one? Or will there still be paper bags? (that may be a stupid question?) and then when I have to clean the cat box every other day I’ll just buy plastic bags for that?!

    • WSB December 19, 2011 (4:21 pm)

      There will still be paper bags. But you will pay a nickel “pass-through charge” for each one – it goes to the store to defray their cost of buying them, NOT to the city or any other central authority. The only plastic bags that stores are supposed to have on hand (or other businesses) once this kicks in will be the kind you put produce or meat packages in, the little ones usually on rollers inside supermarkets. – TR

  • Diane December 19, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    agree WSTroll & Alex; and Colleen, there is a fee; it’s 5 cents per paper bag; and what is the plan for low-income shoppers? to point them out at the check stand as poor people? lovely
    I am a ‘green’, liberal, progressive, environmentalist, ………..and totally against this plastic bag ban and paper bag fee; for many many many reasons that have to do with equity, health/safety, common sense re-use, recycling, respect for the intelligence of the citizens to do the right thing and voluntarily either carry their own bags and re-use/recycle paper/plastic
    J, from everything I’ve heard (I watch most city council meetings on seattle channel) the research that council is using to aid their argument, is very one sided, from very narrow group of constituents; I think the council is going to be very surprised to learn that the vast majority of Seattelites are not even aware this was up for a vote, and are against it, just like it was voted down the last time
    yes, I fully expect another round of petition signatures & vote, this time at the state level hopefully
    I am so damn frustrated with our ‘leadership’ right now; our mayor and city council should be doing something substantive to gain more living wage jobs, help small business, fix the horrible police/education mess; instead of wasting precious time/energy on this stupid ‘feel good’ bag ban
    funny/true foyboy; wonder how many of the re-usable shopping bags are made it China

  • bebecat December 19, 2011 (4:25 pm)

    I am at a loss for words as Seattle voted on this. I hate social engineering(the thought that someone is paid to think of ways to control masses of people is beyond me). What ever happened to “Live and Let Live”? Seattle is my hometown. Born and raised here and I can say it has become the most unlivable place,with shameful political leaders. :( Roxbury Safeway here I come. A large parking lot and plastic bags.

  • WSTroll December 19, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Wait WE HAVE TO PAY A NICKLE FOR PAPER BAGS!!!??? Forget that. I am going to buy new canvas bags everytime and I’ll dump them in the sound when I am finished.

  • newbie December 19, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Bravo, it’s nice to see people thinking big picture and making a progressive forward thinking decision regarding plastic bag use. If people really think this won’t change the amount of plastic that ends up in our environment then you’re delusional.

    @J – Zero research? Did you pay attention to the process at all? This was thoroughly vetted.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy December 19, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    Great news about the Rezone in the Triangle! Many thanks to all those who called/wrote/emailed the DPD, the Committee on the Built Environment, and the city council throughout this process in support of the Rezone.

  • mcbride December 19, 2011 (4:37 pm)

    Plastic shopping bags really are very bad. Also, inferior to virtually any reusable bag that you can purchase for a dollar or less. And here’s the best part, the real stick-it-to-the-man goodness: in most grocery stores, you get cash back every time you use one (or two, or five). Enough to pay for the reusable bag and the trashcan liners besides. If employing reusable bags for altruism doesn’t work for you, do it out of spite. That’ll show’em.
    Besides, all the cool cities are doing it (http://planetgreen.discovery.com/work-connect/how-many-cities-have-a-ban-on-plastic-bags.html).

  • Anon Mom December 19, 2011 (4:50 pm)

    Wow I’m shocked that so many people are angry about the bag ban, especially in west Seattle of all places!
    I stopped getting plastic bags a few years ago when I noticed them everywhere they shouldn’t be: in trees, along highways, clogging drains, etc. I quickly adapted to using paper or biodegradable bags for my garbage, cat litter and other prior plastic bag duties and am thankful that now others will be forced to do the same. I look forward to a much cleaner city as a result.
    I’m no “hippy”, just a busy working mom who didn’t want to leave my children with my garbage. GREAT JOB SEATTLE!!

  • Diane December 19, 2011 (4:54 pm)

    newbie, I watched all of the city council meetings about this; the research presented was very one-sided, definitely not “thoroughly vetted”
    for instance, there was no discussion of the contaminants that are spread to others via the extensive use of reusable bags that rarely/if ever get washed

  • ProjectGreenBag December 19, 2011 (5:09 pm)

    Project GreenBag is the sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. 100% organic cotton, biodegradable, and made in California.

  • bebecat December 19, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    Just 2 days ago someone tossed a very dirty reuable bag up on the food belt. Grossed me out. I don’t think this is a good idea. Who knows where those reusable bags have been.

  • Yardvark December 19, 2011 (5:13 pm)

    It’ll be great to see this common sense ban finally enacted. I suppose the only shame is that it took us so long. We’re learning, though.

  • John December 19, 2011 (6:11 pm)

    And the liberal socialists are now upset? This, from an electorate that put Comrade Mayor in office.

  • mookie December 19, 2011 (6:13 pm)

    “…the “Bagmonster Singers,” who serenaded councilmembers with a song to the tune of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
    Oh, Seattle.

  • Sonoma December 19, 2011 (6:13 pm)

    City Council – what idiots! I consider myself an environmentalist, but this is ridiculous. Diane, you expressed it perfectly. We reuse the plastic bags to line our paper garbage bags so the soggy smelly junk doesn’t seep out through the paper.

  • ohmygosh December 19, 2011 (6:32 pm)

    Thank goodness Costco sells mass quantities of plastic bags!! I will use exactly as many as I have,I’ll just be buying them for cat litter, dog poop and the trash can.Got to have them.I have always reused my grocery bags now mine will be one use bags.Sad but true.
    So many other more important things they could have done. I rarely see a plastic bag billowing around anymore, most people have “gotten it” and do not let them fly. In the water you say? Do you think the tide won’t bring them in from other places? Maybe even some in that trash from Japan .
    Too bad the republicans can’t come up with a decent offering.I might just have to switch teams. Sick of all of this silly crap running of our lives and I am an independent that swings to the liberal side.Well I used to be!!I can see me switching now.SICK OF THIS.

  • Dizzle December 19, 2011 (6:44 pm)

    If anyone is really hurting for re-usable shopping bags, let me know. My mother-in-law is a hoarder and probably has at least 50 brand new bags sitting around her house among other things!

  • Bruce Nourish December 19, 2011 (6:49 pm)

    Good job on the triangle upzone, good job on the bag ban.

    Although, reading these comments about the bag ban, I’m starting to understand why it’s an uphill battle to explain the reasons behind Metro’s service changes to some of the commenters on this blog.

  • Eaglelover December 19, 2011 (7:37 pm)

    I think that is good to reward those that bring in reusable bags and try to do that whenever I can, but I try to reuse the green bags for compost as a paper bag is useless using it for that. The city actually shifted us to a very small garbage can (didn’t ask us- just did it) and not that I mind as we recycle just about everything and have little garbage. What I don’t like is going from a reward system to a punitive system without asking the citizens. It seems like a pattern of rewarding then penalizing. Hate to think of all the dog walkers who throw the poo into the garbage in plastic. As a whole I think people get that plastic is generally not good. Shame on the city council wasting resources on a feel good law while shorting schools money and having a few police beating some.

  • Ken December 19, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    I am as hard core a Dem as you will find. I recycle everything. I even recycle computers to give to those who can’t afford them.

    But I thought Mc Bicycle could not do as much Damage as he and his tame BS artist have done to the chances of the Democratic party in Seattle.

    I use every bag three times. Once to carry groceries (With a paper bag so they don’t become slinkys on the stairs). Once as a liner for the paper bag I use to do extreme composting and finally to bag dog poo for three rescue dogs.

    I will also be headed for the Roxbury Safeway.

    I know all of the WS members of the Seattle City Council and will be saying the same to them face to face.

    I really would like to see proof of the 13% statistic concerning bag recycling in this city but given the sheer volume of businesses, apartments and government building that either have no recycling container, or combine them all into the same dumpster for pickup because it is cheaper and out of sight, I really don’t have a problem with those numbers. And penalizing those who have been recycling with a stick (no carrot) solution means the voters are going to remember who beat them up come the next election.

  • metrognome December 19, 2011 (8:56 pm)

    fascinating what gets people’s undies in a bunch. If you start saving bags now, you probably won’t run out for years. I’m pretty sure there is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees free plastic bags for life. The CIty Council isn’t against people actually using plastic bags the way you all have described; the problem is people get 8 bags when one reusable will do and most of those eight are not re-used for anything.
    Diane, there is a simple solution — people can learn to wash their reusable bags.
    For those of you who are against ‘social engineering’, you should probably stop using interstate freeways, airports, Amtrak, public transportation and anything else that receives public funding, as it has all resulted in ‘social engineering’.
    If you think the council made this decision with ‘no research and no knowledge’, you need to read more than the headlines.
    Believe it or not, some of us are old enough to remember when, horror or horrors, there were no paper bags. And we survived just fine. Then the petrochemical industry came along and decided we couldn’t live without them (speaking of ‘social engineering …) Has American culture really slipped so far down the ladder that we can’t adjust to maybe buying plastic bags once in a while … no wonder we are no longer a world leader.

  • FreeMarketLiberal December 19, 2011 (9:10 pm)

    “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” -Frederic Bastiat

  • boy December 19, 2011 (9:33 pm)

    It is time to start the protest. Show your dislike for this new law by going into a store and take ideems from all four cornners of the store and when it is time to pay and you don’t have your GREEN bags just say sorry but I’ll be back and just walk away. After awhile the stores will complain big time and maybe the city will change the law back. Make sure you put alot of icecream in your basket this will make the store have to scrmble to put it back right away. Oh metrognome are world power is being destroyed from with in by progresive liberal elites who think they know best over the majority.

  • James December 19, 2011 (9:42 pm)

    Wow. I love the maturity level of some of my fellow citizens…

  • Dano December 19, 2011 (9:53 pm)

    … How will this decrease plastic bag use?….. That’s just silly, ’cause most of us use the reusable shopping bags, AND we get the plastic grocery sacks to use for garbage, pet waste, etc….. So now, we will just go BUY them…. Unless, of course, the city council wants us to just place the garbage, pet waste into the garbage cans as is…… Yeah, THAT’S the ticket!!!….. Bring on the rodents and raccoons….
    This move was about more about increased paper sales (WA state is a major supplier of paper grocery sacks nation wide….. Think huge paper mills in Port Townsend, etc….) than it was about the environment. Requiring retailers to NOT use plastic sacks will have little effect on the amount of plastic we use. if the council REALLY wants to help the environment, do something about the hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts lying around the city…. Or ban aluminum cans….. I see a whole lot more of those than stray plastic grocery sacks….

  • Paul December 19, 2011 (11:14 pm)

    If you really wanted to make an impact you would of banned plastic bottles..now if you can figure out why they didn’t you might be on to something

  • Diane December 19, 2011 (11:19 pm)

    well said Ken and Dano
    metrognome, unfortunately most people do not wash their reusable bags often, some never; how can you enforce that? and many, like me, do not have washer/dryers to effectively wash/sanitize/dry reusable grocery bags to ensure cleanliness
    I would like to see an independent research team do a random sampling of 300+ reusable bags as they pass over grocery counters, to test for contaminants like e-choli that can sicken/kill people; I think most would be shocked at this health hazard to humans
    many who use reusable bags stash them in back of their car, along with the pet dog that they just took for a walk to go poop, doggy rubs up next to bags, can’t get much grosser than that
    and then fecal matter is on the grocery food belt where your food comes next
    health & safety for humans is my #1 concern

  • Dano December 19, 2011 (11:32 pm)

    Exactly right Paul!

  • rosenlaw December 19, 2011 (11:35 pm)

    First the liberals push poly bags as an alternative to save all the trees used to make paper bags, now they change their mind… Oh, and geez- this is basically a tax/fee, since we’ll now be charged for the paper bags that were previously free.

    Oh, and isn’t your favorite checker going to love having to figure out if all your purchases will fit in the bags you’re now forced to carry with you, or add up the cost of the paper bags at the last minute?

    What a bunch of crap. Drive-by legislation at it’s finest..

  • Kayleigh December 20, 2011 (5:39 am)

    I figured most comments would show exactly this level of maturity. What’s even funnier is that in a couple years, you won’t miss the bags, you’ll be annoyed when you see them in another city, and you’ll wonder why you ever used something so wasteful and harmful to the environment.
    Kind of like the public smoking ban: so many people wailed about Big Bad Guvmint and being oppressed and how it was the Worst Thing Ever. And now most everybody is used to it and appreciates being able to enjoy a meal without smoke.
    For being a “progressive” area, Seattle sure is…NOT progressive sometimes.

  • redblack December 20, 2011 (6:12 am)

    john – just wait until we seize the means of production and distribution… (“first they came for my free petroleum bags…”)
    and as a card-carrying member of the social elite, i demand that you cease your criticism of my syndicalist mayor and his socialist city council.
    seattle, you will tremble when comrade obama hears of this treason!

  • Rick December 20, 2011 (7:42 am)

    And this from a city that instituted “recycling police” after already having one of the higher recycling rates in the nation. I’d expect lots of those “nickel bags” will just go out with the trash.

  • FreeMarketLiberal December 20, 2011 (8:56 am)

    Progressives believe that government is the great savior that will fix all that is wrong with society. Through regulation and taxation, paradise will be achieved. There are still some of us that believe the individual can only know what is best for themselves. To advocate Statism under the guise of environmentalism (the new religion), is a threat to Liberty.

  • JW December 20, 2011 (9:15 am)

    What is a “festival street?” Sounds like fun.

  • Casey December 20, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Can someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that once a “biodegradable” garbage bag ends up in the landfill it can’t break down anyways because they pack those things do tight..so really in the dump it doesn’t matter if it’s made from “real” plastic or say plant material? I understand that it would help on the street but I’d also think the people that are conscious enough to buy those types of “green” bags are probably not the ones doing the dumping

  • Alex December 20, 2011 (10:12 am)

    If this is really about greenness, the law should have forced grocery stores to offer us biodegradable bags instead of plastic. As it is, I will be buying garbage can liners made of the exact same plastic as before. Only now I’ll only be getting one use out of them instead of two.
    And how does it make any sense to force grocery stores to charge us for paper bags they used to give us for free? Do they no longer have the choice to set their own prices? What’s next, a legally mandated minimum price for Apples?

  • 6pack December 20, 2011 (11:12 am)

    This is about taking away the bags without first creating public awareness of the problem. I remember as a youth being taught to cut up the plastic six-pack rings because it was choking the waterfowl. We still have the rings. Public awareness would motivate folks to their share and maybe a little more.

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (11:20 am)

    Rosenlaw, FreeMarketLiberal, Kayleigh; as stated in my original post, “I am a ‘green’, liberal, progressive, environmentalist, ……. and totally against this plastic bag ban and paper bag fee; for many many many reasons that have to do with equity, health/safety, common sense re-use, recycling, respect for the intelligence of the citizens to do the right thing and voluntarily either carry their own bags and re-use/recycle paper/plastic
    the majority in Seattle is progressive, intelligent, highly educated, and as Rick said, we have one of the highest recycling rates in the nation
    this is not smart legislation based on fact, or thorough research; city council & a small group of constituents used one-sided research to push this law through asap
    last night, Councilmember Mike O’Brien proudly posted a NY Times story on Facebook; “Seattle Bans Plastic Bags, and Sets a Charge for Paper”; quote from Mr. O’Brien in the story, “There’s a competitive side to seeing who can come up with the most progressive legislation,”; I do believe he thinks this will be a bonus on his resume; for some it will be, not for me; this is punitive, restrictive legislation, not progressive
    again, I am a progressive, liberal, environmentalist; I fought hard for statewide smoke-free law, because tobacco kills people; and I will continue to fight for more restrictive smoke-free laws, to save human lives
    but this plastic bag ban & paper bag fee is stupid, punitive, and may cause harm to humans as disease is spread via grocery store food belts from contaminated reusable bags

  • chris December 20, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    Get over it people…we were fine before plastic bags and will be fine afterward. We’ve only had them for 20+ years or so. You would think they were our first born child from the reaction I read.

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (12:46 pm)

    Best quote of the day so far about plastic bag ban, from King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, “Being old school, the Seattle Times delivers to my porch. Thus I appreciated the irony of reading the headline of Seattle’s plastic bag ban through the plastic bag was in.”

  • M December 20, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    I cannot imagine dressing myself up in plastic bags and singing a song to the council.

    But then again I have a job and a life…

  • Interrobang December 20, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    @ everyone who was for, or is okay with the plastic bag ban: I can think of 1001 other things that need taking care of more than this, and probably 1001 other things I would rather do with 5 cents on the rare occassion that I need a bag.

    It’s been my personal choice to use the bags provided from my school for grocery shopping, but it’s never something I’ve shamed others for.

    Fact is, the reason we’re all so annoyed by this, is due to 1) being responsible with our bag use, and 2) another nickle and dime scheme that has been passed by the city council

    It’s not the ban that’s offensive as much as the inconsiderate lack of alternative without there being a fee in place.

    I believe in going green, but not because the city is making us.

    You will still find garbage in the gutters, and in trees, and on the side of the highways. The difference being, now, I will have to purchase plastic bags which will still end up in a landfill.

    This is what makes people, such as my self, roll their eyes at their own progressive left-wing party. I’ve voted (relatively) democratic my whole life, but when I see the politicians interpretation of what some of us want (based on radicals) I really don’t think we’re being heard. To be balanced is to be unsatisfied.

    To be swayed by BagMonsters… yeesh…I know I’ll be reconsidering my vote, that’s for sure.

  • Kayleigh December 20, 2011 (2:35 pm)

    Diane, wash your produce before you eat it. You should be doing that anyway. Produce is often grown in the dirt. Dirt is dirty.
    Truly, almost every Government-Takes-Any-
    Action-At-All-And-I’m-A-Victim story on this blog becomes comedy for me once I start reading the comments. I realize some people may have valid concerns some of the time, but taken as a whole, it’s just funny. And kind of embarrassing.

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (2:52 pm)

    already wash everything that’s washable, cartons, bottles, produce, etc before goes in fridge/cupboards; don’t think I ever mentioned concern about dirt; it’s not the dirt that makes people sick; it’s germs/contaminants/e-choli that make people sick

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (3:38 pm)

    thanks TR; been watching the # of recommends and comments on the Seattle Times story since it broke yesterday; I can’t remember another story on the Times that has ever had such high #’s; but I’ve not yet searched to read whether most comments were pro or con; good to hear they’re similar; hope city council is paying attention
    currently, “924 people recommend this story” and 628 comments; every refresh, #’s increase

  • questionable December 20, 2011 (3:49 pm)

    If people were mature and actually were responsible for their actions the government wouldn’t have to treat them like children. Of course you think your actions are perfect, that’s part of the problem.

  • Silly Goose December 20, 2011 (4:20 pm)

    As a cashier at a local grocery story I must tell you how upset we as checkers are about this. Not because we don’t want to be environmentally friendly but because of all of the filthy dirty reusable totes we are forced to touch when customers bring in their own bags. I have never seen such filth that people are willing to put fresh produce and groceries in and then eat it. Bags covered in cat urine, animal hairs balls in the bottom of the bags, the smell of everything you have ever cooked in your house etc etc. We are all going to start wearing rubber gloves! Folks please take the time to throw these canvas bags into the laundry once a month please!

  • metrognome December 20, 2011 (4:30 pm)

    interrobang — ever consider that the petrochemical industry is invested in ‘making’ you use plastic bags?
    FreeMarketLiberal — do you *really* believe you are making a ‘free choice’ decision to do anything in this society? Someone corporation or other is shaping every ‘decision’ you make, from cradle (i.e. baby food containing tons of salt, sugar and preservatives) to grave (yes, you need to spend $10,000 on a casket, grave site and funeral.)
    I am glad my parent’s generation was the one that lived through the Depression and WWII; this generation would be so busy whining, the war would be over before you got a chance to tweet about it. I can just imagine the Rosie the Riveter ‘Can Do’ poster for this generation: ‘Don’t Want To, Can’t Make Me’.

  • Duke December 20, 2011 (4:59 pm)

    Wow, for the people who are claiming to see plastic bags everywhere, please tell me how many of them have something inside them? I did a lot of cleaning up of these bags that were “strewn about” and a vast majority of them contained something, or had trace amounts of something that used to be in there but washed away. Many were there because of the homeless (such as in White Center and parts of downtown near the I-5 bridges). Please use common sense and realize that these aren’t just being tossed out as individual bags most of the time. It’s much more logical to think these were either used for the original purpose, or re-purposed later, for holding things and wound up in the street through several means (littering, garbage trucks dropping them on accident, wind kicking them out of trash cans with other trash). The point is, littering is the problem, not plastic bags.

    Canvas bags? I live in an apartment with $1 per wash load, $1 per dryer load. Add that as a weekly tax to clean these bags (maybe monthly if I baby them) plus the cost of trash can liners and the initial cost of canvas bags themselves (3-5 bucks) and it becomes ridiculous, not economical. Oh-wait, I live in Seattle, so I must have so much money that it won’t bother me…

    I am appalled at this ban having gone into affect. I didn’t even know it was being voted on until I heard “bags will be banned starting July 1, 2012” on the news. If this isn’t repealed, I will be a dick and start having the Baggers at my local supermarkets help carry and load each individual item (no bags) into my vehicle. Its only a few steps from where I park to my front door, but I depend on these bags for a LOT of uses, most of which are already expressed by others here, and I’ve family and friends who DO have long walks from their vehicles to their door.

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (5:37 pm)

    Thank you Silly Goose; that’s exactly what I’m talking about; it’s the sickening gross animal waste/hair, and sticky/slimy/toxic spills from previous food shopping that remains in reusable bags; grocery cashiers should not have to deal with these stinking filthy bags; yes, they should be washed often, but most do not; how can you regulate that to protect other shoppers and grocery employees?

  • Diane December 20, 2011 (5:54 pm)

    Seattle Times story on bag ban now up to 975 recommends & 665 comments; are you listening to the majority of your constituents City Council?

  • Yardvark December 20, 2011 (10:58 pm)

    Thank you, City Council!

  • Paul December 21, 2011 (12:29 am)

    and the logic of keeping the smaller plastic bags for produce, meat and bulk foods? why are these ok but not the other ones? Oh right I said logic nevermind

  • redblack December 21, 2011 (5:43 am)

    diane – just because opponents make more noise than supporters doesn’t mean they are the majority. i’d say that well over half of the people that comment on the times stories don’t even live in seattle and aren’t affected.
    and again i have to question why anyone out there lines any household garbage cans other than the one in the kitchen; which in my case, is too big to be lined with a grocery bag.
    when they need emptying, i take the cans from the bathroom, bedroom, office, etc. and dump them into the kitchen can liner.
    regarding filthy cloth bags, i agree that people are disgusting animals. but i find it funny that their cloth grocery bags offend you, considering that they touch just about everything else in a grocery store – even food – often without washing their hands.
    our reuseable bags are kept in the trunk of the grocery getter. no hairballs. no food spatters.
    lastly i’ll just say to freemerketliberal and others that i’m glad you can say with such certainty that liberals just want a nanny state, probably so that we don’t have to think. or work. of course, you’re just saying that to rile people up and bully them in a public forum. it’s likely that you know better.
    i like free market capitalism just fine, and i’m an active participant. but sometimes it does harm the environment or the greater good – intentionally or not – and it needs to be checked by the government. the government – we, the people – needs to be strong enough to regulate, fine, and control any player within its jurisdiction. think of it this way: they (businesses) are guests in my house, and i expect them to behave in a civilized manner.
    but expecting me to conform to your point of view by calling me names is foolish, comrades.

  • duder December 21, 2011 (7:33 am)

    I’m still upset they banned cfc’s and then had the gall to tell me that I could no longer pour motor oil down the storm drains Tell me they have the right to regulate the emissions on my vehicle and then…then they ban those flimsy plastic bags I reuse to pick up my dog poo which if i were a responsible dog owner I’d buy biodegradable ones anyhow but I’m not so I’d rather just come on the WSB and cry about these ridiculous miniscule things.

    Unfair! I’m moving to Syria where at least they have REAL freedom.

  • KBear December 21, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Why do people think grocery stores owe them free garbage can liners and dog poo bags? And if you’re afraid of cross contamination from other people’s reusable bags, I’m surprised your paranoid germophobia allows you to go out in public in the first place.

  • NFiorentini December 21, 2011 (10:49 am)

    There are a lot of bad arguments from people who opposed to the bag ban. As someone who had previously thought that banning bags was horrible, socialist, blah-blah-blah, I have found that the transition to reusable canvas bags is easy. They can be washed (with other things, so NO…not $1.00 per load/dry…bad argument!). I have also never had a problem from checkers not knowing what can fit into a reusable bag.

    People need to educate themselves as to what plastic does out in nature. Start with a Google Image Search of “plastic bags” to see pics of animals that have ingested the bags. While you’re there, do a GIS for “six pack rings turtle.” Then, go to UW or a community college and talk to biologists (especially marine biologists) about plastic and nature. Someone who can do these things and still oppose banning plastic bags…wow!

    I think that the bag ban is a good first start.

  • KBear December 21, 2011 (11:19 am)

    Plastic grocery bags suck anyway. They’re actually terrible for carrying groceries. They don’t hold much and they break so easily that people end up using lots of extra bags. (Hmmm…. do you think maybe the plastic manufacturers designed them that way on purpose?) Then you go to re-use them for dog poo and your finger pokes through the hole. Ick! The only thing they’re really good for is polluting the environment. We’ll be better off without them.

  • Diane December 21, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    Redblack; re “expecting me to conform to your point of view by calling me names is foolish, comrades.”
    I agree with you on this point; sadly, there’s been a lot of name-calling here from both sides; I don’t appreciate being called childish, immature, whining, irresponsible, delusional, paranoid germophobe, just because I express a different point of view
    Redblack; you called people “disgusting animals” in same post where you are upset with people calling you names?
    Thank you to all who stated opposing opinions, in respectful manner, with thoughtful arguments; much appreciated

  • Interrobang December 21, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Metrognome: Obviously not – As previously stated, I made the choice to use what I use. Sorry, kiddo.

  • Interrobang December 21, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    I’m sorry, but I hate the concept of sin-taxes.

    As someone who works in healthcare – why don’t we put a tax on foods with a high fat/sugar content? Heck, while we’re at it, we should tax tobacco products at an even heavier rate, and same with any alcohol related things. The medical bills that are accumulated by obesity that taxpayers foot the bill for are astounding.

    The reasoning being taxes don’t solve anything. Sure, we pretend like they do. Sort of throw a “that’ll show them” attitude at it.

    The problem isn’t because people are unwilling to have a green alternative, but, when you consider an average person usually buys about… 3 or 4 bags of groceries (lets say, assuming this is a family), that’s 20 cents because they forgot their reuable bags.

    I know I’ve even been in the situation where the 5 bags I brought weren’t enough, and I doubt I’m the only one.

    I would also like to say, I would prefer baggers to use gloves between customers – to protect themselves namely. I don’t touch a patients belongings without mine on, and you never know what touched that bag last… and really, things could be passed to the next customer, but perhaps that’s my own healthcare perspective.

  • Diane December 21, 2011 (5:35 pm)

    Seattle Times story on bag ban now up to 1,111 recommends & 743 comments
    this westseattleblog story might very well have many more comments if the title link on sidebar was not shortened to “*Council OKs Triangle rezone”
    Redblack; re “just because opponents make more noise than supporters doesn’t mean they are the majority”
    I agree; yet having watched all of city council hearings/public testimony on this, council chambers were filled with small group of folks who were mostly initiators of the bag ban, working closely with Council Member O’Brien, and “making a lot of noise” supporting the ban; CM O’Brien has repeatedly touted the overwhelming positive comments re bag ban, but they were mostly from those same constituents, not at all representative of the whole citizenry; so it’s been very validating for me to hear there are a whole lot of folks out there who agree with me, who are also progressive, liberal, green, environmentalist, recyclers, and against the punitive bag ban
    we would only know which is majority if we had a vote; oh yeh, we already had one

  • Diane December 21, 2011 (5:54 pm)

    Redblack; re “i have to question why anyone out there lines any household garbage cans other than the one in the kitchen; which in my case, is too big to be lined with a grocery bag.” “when they need emptying, i take the cans from the bathroom, bedroom, office, etc. and dump them into the kitchen can liner.”
    I use grocery paper bag inside grocery plastic bag; stands up well, prevents leakage, fits my kitchen garbage container perfectly, and all household garbage goes in there; then when full, I tie the plastic ‘handles’ to secure it closed, and out to the dumpster; also helps prevent those dang crows and raccoons from breaking into garbage and spreading all over the neighborhood, with paper & plastic tied shut, that’s 2 barriers to prevent critters getting to it; even though I put my garbage in dumpster and close lid, I live in apt building, where dumpster is sometimes overloaded and/or left open by others, and the critters go for the easy to get to stuff

  • NFiorentini December 22, 2011 (3:06 am)

    Interrobang-This isn’t a tax. The five-cent-per-bag fee goes towards compensating retailers for the extra expense of stocking the heavier, bulkier packages of paper bags.

  • redblack December 22, 2011 (5:58 am)

    diane – first of all, calling people disgusting animals is not aimed at any one political group. i’m pretty much equally disgusted by everyone. i even gross myself out.
    regarding lining trash cans, i guess it is all about free can liners.
    but let me point this out: you’re taking two layers of material – provided to you at no charge by the grocery stores – and sending them straight to the landfill. to me, that is wasteful, and it is not environmentally conscious.
    may i offer a suggestion? i know times are tight and every penny counts. however, adding that material to the landfill has a social cost that is now being borne by all of us – that is why the council voted the way they did.
    generic/grocery store brand can liners contain damp garbage pretty well, and you can tie the handles.
    being a renter, do you have food/yard waste containers? we’ve found that since we’ve been allowed to put food waste into the yard waste cart, our garbage can is only half full after a week. sadly, most of what goes in there is non-biodegradable food wrapping stiff, like styrofoam and cling wrap from meat and chicken.
    if you don’t have a yard waste container, you might suggest that your landlord invest in one – for the good of the environment.

Sorry, comment time is over.