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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seattle Bag Ban Pronounced "Popular and Successful"

Posted by on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Six months after Seattle’s controversial plastic bag ban was implemented, prohibiting stores from distributing flimsy single-using plastic shopping bags to their customers, the measure has been hailed as “popular and successful” this morning during a meeting of the city council’s Libraries, Utilities, and Center Committee.

According to a modest October survey (.pdf) of nearly 891 people conducted by Environment Washington, 32 percent of consumers report that they bring their own bags “most of the time” when shopping, while another 34 percent say they bring their own bags every time.

However, it seems that more work needs to be done to convince small businesses of the utility of the ban. Only 52 percent of the 31 small businesses surveyed agreed that the ban was useful and effective, as opposed to 78 percent of supermarket employees.

According to four surveyed grocery stores, carryout bag use has dropped by 15,000 bags per month since the law’s July implementation.


Comments (56) RSS

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Popular? Hardly! Modest survey? Definitely!
Posted by alki44 on January 27, 2013 at 10:31 PM · Report this
So a group of people from the libraries, utilities and a committee, places that have ZERO connection to the use of bags, get together and say how successful the bag ban is??? The bag ban is economically TERRIBLE:…
Posted by nelsonj7474 on January 20, 2013 at 8:33 PM · Report this
Bonefish 54
53: I don't know why I'm wasting time engaging you, but ocean currents only go "towards" the coast during winter, when the Davidson current flows northward (along the coast, actually) and the Coriolis effect causes some shoreward movement.

During spring and summer, though, the Davidson current disappears and only the southward-flowing California current remains: with this current, the Coriolis effect creates offshore movement.

If you're going to name yourself as some champion of science and logic, you might actually want to know a thing or two about science and logic. In your rush to put "progressive" in quotation marks five times per post and make convoluted Sarah Palin comparisons, it seems you overlooked a couple obvious things.

There; now you can tell me how having any actual knowledge about basic local oceanography is just such Sarah Palin "progressive" bullshit.
Posted by Bonefish on January 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM · Report this
So there's trash in the ocean, and even plastic bags. It's a real problem. But that doesn't mean there is any connection with the use of plastic grocery bags in the United States, or Seattle, or elsewhere on the West Coast. The ocean currents don't go outward from the West Coast. They go toward us. So, even if Seattle or other West Coast cities were discarding plastic bags into the water (which they are not: see comment #25), they wouldn't be getting into the ocean.

Of course, I'm giving you logic. But you are a "progressive," and like your right wingnut cousins, you are not about science, or logic. You are all about your faith, which is really faith in your superiority, or actually the need to generate that faith to cover your insecurity. It's a game of appearances, not reality.

Call your good friend Sarah Palin, #52, and pray on it. You're just as stupid and hypocritical as she is, and every bit as stubborn in your ignorance.
Posted by Mister G on January 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
"The proliferation of plastic waste endangers fish and wildlife. A 2005 study found that almost 200 species of marine life are adversely affected by plastic bag pollution. Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, and turtles are killed annually from plastic bags. Fish and wildlife mortalities are caused by:

Restricting mobility
Disrupting digestion
Marine animals often mistake plastic bags for food, such as jellyfish. Once eaten, the bags cannot be processed and block the digestive system, making it very difficult for animals to get proper nutrition, and can lead to a slow and painful death from starvation or dehydration. To make matters worse, when the creature dies and decomposes, the plastic bags will be re-released into the environment."…
Posted by stating the obvious on January 16, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
#49, I have a front loading, low-water washer.

#50, somewhere a "progressive" was raped by a plastic bag, which is why the hive mind has declared them evil.
Posted by Mister G on January 16, 2013 at 12:44 AM · Report this
dirac 50
Isn't it time for a rape joke in here somewhere? That's what this thread is missing.
Posted by dirac on January 16, 2013 at 12:18 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 49
@ 46, get a front-loading washer (your clothes will also be happier) and spend some coin on a bag. Those PCC bags were $10 apiece in 1997, and they've been worth it. Hell, they probably paid for themselves in bag refunds several times now.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM · Report this
@39, he doesn't go away. He just invents more names to post over. You have power -- please make him go away.
Posted by sarah70 on January 15, 2013 at 10:07 PM · Report this
Christampa 47
Yeah, it's awful how they all think they're better than real progressives like you, who think that there are too many brown people in line at the grocery store with their EBT cards.
Posted by Christampa on January 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
#41, they do the same thing at Costco. I doubt the average grocery store has enough boxes, or the ability to stack them next to the registers. As for whether the textiles are virgin or recycled, I doubt it would matter much. It doesn't matter for paper bags.

#40, I have quickly accumulated a dozen or so cloth bags. One of them crapped out after about five uses, and the others are wearing out fast. I wash them after each use, which is what public health authorities recommend. Of course, "progressives" wouldn't ever want to know about the people whose medical status might make them more susceptible to infections, just like the "progressives" who are fighting their war on cars wish that the elderly and the disabled would just die already. As for the "sad trombone," I'll do just fine. I'm accustomed to the change, and consider it minor. But it's one of those small things that shows so vividly how Seattle's "progressives" are just as stupid, hypocritical, science-denying, and faith-based as the wingnuts to whom they're always pretending to be so superior.

#44, no shit, huh? The worst thing is how they think they're smarter and better.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 7:40 PM · Report this
Still hate hate hate it. The paper bags get wet, because, you know, this is Seattle. Wet bags tear easily.

And I now drive my car a bit more cause I don't like dealing with paper bags when walking or busing.
Posted by ryanmm on January 15, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
Mister G, you fucking rock. Thank you for making my day. These predictable mealy-mouthed "progressive" dipshit locals are enough to make me wretch half the time. Way to hose 'em on their ignorance. *high five*
Posted by Confluence on January 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this
@41 about 40 years ago (when I was a kid) they used to have a big cage at the Safeway stores in Seattle with boxes you could use to take groceries home. The supermarkets stopped giving shoppers the boxes when they made more by selling the cardboard to be recycled.
Posted by WestSeven on January 15, 2013 at 6:35 PM · Report this
Man, some people just won't let you agree with them.
Posted by Ben on January 15, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 41
In Germany (and I believe much of Continental Europe), grocery stores have gigantic wire cages that employees wheel around the store to hold their boxes while stocking. Most shoppers just grab one of these boxes for their groceries and recycle it at home. No bag needed, and the box would have been recycled anyways. Dunno why it isn't an option in the US...

And Mister G: The study assumes cotton bags are made entirely from virgin textiles. This isn't necessarily the case. Environmentally speaking the best option is to make the damn thing yourself. All it takes is an old t-shirt and some thread...
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 15, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 40
@ 24, I wash them every time I do the laundry. The sad trombone plays for thee...
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Fnarf 39
@38, if you ignore it, it will go away.
Posted by Fnarf on January 15, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
@33 That's cool that you came up with a major finding that the authors didn't include in their Key Findings section. The study simply doesn't agree with you and you haven't shown that it does.
Posted by ScruffyBallardMan on January 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM · Report this
#35, I've got a big bladder. And to you and others who say you won't listen because of my manner of expression, I say: Bullshit. This is the Slog, and I'm no more profane than the Stranger is. And "progressives" never listened to anyone else no matter what, so I might as well as least have the satisfaction of telling them what puffed-up, Palinesque jokes they really are.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
Here's another one: One place I go in town gives me a biodegradable plastic bag for free. Which contributes quadruple the global warming effect because, a) it's made with corn starch, and they use lots of oil in growing, shipping, and processing corn, and turning it into corn starch, and then incorporating into plastic bags, and b) they're heavier, which means more oil used in shipping them, and c) when they break down, they release CO2.

But hey, they're biodegradable!

Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
@32: What the fuck are you talking about? I'm not butt-hurt, because you're not insulting me. I don't thrill to hurling insults at wingnuts, because I don't really hurl that many insults at wingnuts. I can handle snarkery, you're just getting annoying.

And not "Gosh, I know he's right but I hate admitting I'm wrong" annoying. More like "little kid who pees his own pants just to be a pain in the ass" annoying.
Posted by Ben on January 15, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Another little bit of irony: Yes, you can get plastic bags now for a nickel, i.e., those thick ones at Bartell's. Which aren't nearly as good for re-use as poop bags or wastebasket lines, but suck to reuse at the grocery store because they're impossible to clean. And those things, because they use a lot more petroleum in manufacture, and in shipping because of how much heavier they are, have become much more commonly used here.

But hey, that's fact, science, and evidence. Which amount to absolutely nothing when opposed to "progressive" vanity, ego, appearances, hypocrisy, ignorance, and "faith."
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
#31, you "progressive" idiot, you really can't read very well. Or you choose not to. I never claimed that the study literally called disposable plastic bags "the most environmentally friendly bag." I asserted that the study makes this clear. And it does. As for what the study looked at, why don't you tell me what bags used on any sort of wide scale in the United States weren't included.

To my reading of it, all the biggies are there: thin disposable plastic (banned here), thick plastic, reusable cloth, reusable vinyl, paper, biodegradable plastic. And they gave cloth a big break, because they never examined (or maybe I missed it, but I don't think so) the environmental issues involved with laundering cloth bags.

So there you go, doing the typical "progressive" imitation of Sarah Palin: denying science, dancing around the facts, playing word games. It's quite frankly what I expected, because it's how "progressives" in Seattle handle pretty much of everything they do.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
I love it when the "progressives" here get so butt-hurt at being so deservedly mocked, in quotes, for their arrogance, hypocrisy, and faith-based bullshit. What, your tender hearts that thrill to hurling every insult you can at the wingnuts (who almost always deserve to be insulted, just like you do) can't handle a little snarkery directed your way? What a bunch of stupid shit, #30, not to put too fine a point on it.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
@29 No, the study does not conclude that they're the most environmentally friendly. If it did, that would probably be included under "The study found that:" section in the Executive Summary on page 7. None of those bullet points state "Plastic bags are the most environmentally friendly bag." It also says that only bags available in UK grocery stores were studied -- other types of personal bags were not evaluated.
Posted by ScruffyBallardMan on January 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
@29: We get it. Adjectives generally synonymous with "ignoring evidence". The word progressives in quotes. You're drowning out your own (actually worthwhile) point with this stupid shit.
Posted by Ben on January 15, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
The video starts by calling grocery plastic bags "non envirnomentally friendly," when in fact they are the most environmentally friendly bags of all. This is absolutely established by the U.K. study on the issue, but the Seattle "progressives" will never, ever admit it. Never. Why? Because for them, it's entirely about vanity and nothing else.

The "progressives" decided, in the absence of facts, that "plastic is evil," and once that faith was established then no amount of science will matter. This is utterly no different than the way the wingnuts like Sarah Palin do their "reasoning."
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@Fnarf, The plastic bags are nice & thin and get nuked by the sun quickly. The plastic bags are there on the beach -- just in tiny little bits mixed in the water and sand. Check our Charles Moore for more info.

I've sailed from Hawaii to Seattle over 28 days. We saw something plastic floating every few hours -- and we weren't looking hard.
Posted by ScruffyBallardMan on January 15, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 27
Any dead bodies @25?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Here's an argument that may be more up Mr G's alley.…

I don't remember conservative opposition to the bag ban suggesting that we ought to privatize disposal but that would be the (supposedly) conservative free market solution.

Instead, the liberal solution is a ban and the conservative solution is to deny the problem.
Posted by ScruffyBallardMan on January 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf 25
@20, I've actually gone to Washington beaches and collected and photographed plastic debris, and guess what? None of it was bags. Motor oil bottles (Washingtonians love to change their oil right on the sand), broken sunglasses, pieces of boat seat, fishing line, bottle caps, orange fence netting, hat buckles, pill bottles, flashlight cases, wads of tape, silverware, dishes, styrofoam food boxes, styrofoam boat bumpers, vinyl boat bumpers, pieces of headphone, pieces of interior car door panel, plier grip covers, pens (a hundred kinds of pens), barrettes, tampon applicators, stove knobs, lamp parts, pieces of buckets, combs, brushes, costume jewelry, sandals, chunks of carpet, pieces of car battery, drawstring clasps, toolboxes, water bottles (a hundred kinds of water bottles), lotion tubes, tupperware, credit cards, coat hangers, key fobs, handles, remote controls, phone chargers, watches, fishing lures, brackets, electronics cases, light fixtures, and a million kinds of toys, and a million unidentifiable whatsits, all ranging from "just dumped" to "worn to nubbins".

No bags.
Posted by Fnarf on January 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM · Report this
#23, if you're still using those bags then you haven't washed them very often. Congrats on dodging the bullet, but you'll eventually get it. Cloth bags don't hold up well at all in the laundry.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 23
@ 19, no doubt. I still use the two PCC canvas bags I bought in 1997. They're awfully faded but still structurally sound, with comfortable handles and are a manageable size. When reusable bags started gaining more popularity about five years ago, I was able to get a couple in the same style from King Soopers (Denver's Kroger division), which was lucky - for some reason they were offered for only a few months, eliminated to make way for those awful vinyl ones.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
@5: They also use the grocery carts to haul their garbage out at the end of the day. Rinse your produce before you eat it.
Posted by treehugger on January 15, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
#20, I'd have had no issue if the city council had simply mandated a nickel per bag of any kind. But they went further than that. They banned the most environmentally friendly type of bag, Why? Because the typical appearance-based, faith-based, pseudo-environmentalist, anti-science, anti-fact Seattle "progressives" decided in their self-referential, insulated, Mormon-style hive-mind kind of way that plastic bags are "evil."

When in fact, it's exactly the opposite. And there is absolutely, positively no way in hell that these people will ever admit they were wrong. You see, a Seattle "progressive" is never, ever wrong about anything.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM · Report this
@17 et. al. The bag ban is a lot less about environmental impact (although that was an easy way to sell it), and more about establishing the norm of assigning value to consumable goods. It is a failure if you are considering a 1:1 replacement with paper bags, but we all know that isn't how things work. By assigning value to a plastic bag, it will stand a higher chance of being reused, as will the paper bags. It also eliminates the grocery store clerk double bagging an everything under the sun and putting 2 items in each bag.

As far as the litter/debris issue goes, it'll take time. I think it took something like 2-3 years after the ban for austrailians to notice a marked reduction.

Posted by Chris Jury on January 15, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 19
I was using re-usable canvas bags before it was cool, or legally mandated in city limits.

Heavy groceries are much more comfortable to carry when you don't have to worry about the handle of your bag stretching to the breaking point.
Posted by More, I Say! on January 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 18
paper bags at grocery: 5c
sturdy plastic bags at bartells: 5c

I've spent less on bags than I care to think about.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on January 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
#15, the science and the facts are entirely against the ban, but when faith and eco-appearances are at stake, the Seattle "progressive" will ignore facts and science just as quickly as any righteous 'n religious wingnut will.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 16
Of course the bag ban is popular. That's because we shop in Shoreline or Burien.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on January 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
"In October, we surveyed 891 consumers outside of nine different
Seattle supermarkets"

That seems like a pretty shitty way to do a survey especially when the organization doing it is not exactly a neutral party.

A good cause is not excuse for shitty science.
Posted by giffy on January 15, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this
typical. measuring compliance instead of success, because success was never defined.
I'm thankful that I can get out of the city every once and a while, and when I do I always go grocery shopping so I can stock up on free plastic garbage bags.
Posted by semi-crepuscular on January 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Popular really? Guess people I know feel differently.
Posted by Seattle14 on January 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
One of the really fun facts in that study is that you have to use a cloth bag, on average, 179 times before you've reduced the global warming impact below that of a disposable plastic bag. And that's not counting the washing of cloth bags, which has further environmental impact for obvious reasons.

I do realize that a lot of people don't wash the cloth bags. Checkout clerks tell me that a lot of bags are incredibly filthy. The science will show that cloth bags harbor e coli, and that there was a norovirus outbreak in Oregon in 2011 specifically traced to a cloth bag. But science is meaningless to Seattle "progressives," unless it happens to coincide with their faith.

And paper? 16 times the water pollution and 4 times the global warming impact. So much for the city's "climate action plan." Which is being blown away by the ongoing effort to tie up the streets in gridlock, not to mention the light rail system that will be a major net emitter of carbon dioxide here. It goes on and on. But it doesn't matter. Facts are the last thing any "progressive" in Seattle ever really wants to hear about.
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
@3 it would take me 5 backpacks to get my week's groceries bagged and to car, house.

Fortunately, I do not currently live in the city of Seattle, but I have family that do, so I have to make a mental note to take some sort of bag whenever I think of buying something there.
Posted by WestSeven on January 15, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
I'm buying plastic bags in Seattle for five cents each. They are simply "sold" as "reusable". That's the work around, since any store can do this. Now, instead of the city getting the five cents, the private entity keeps it. The new law was an opportunity for everyone to charge for something that was otherwise free, and make people like it. If they had done this without all of the "green", um, baggage, everyone would have screamed and bitched about it.
Posted by hmmmmm on January 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Well of course the city council will declare that their law is a success. Of course, they'll never tell anyone about the comprehensive study by Britain's Environment Agency (their EPA). It examined, in exhaustive detail, all of the "carrier bags" by type, and rated them on nine different dimensions for their environmental impact.

This was a "life cycle" study, meaning that it looked at the manufacture, distribution, use and re-use, and disposal of the bags. This study shows that the disposable bags banned here in Seattle are, without any doubt, and by far, the most environmentally friendly type of bag you can use at the grocery store. This includes cloth bags and biodegradable plastic.

Not that any of it will matter to the faith-based, tribalistic "progressives" who run Seattle, or the brain-dead hipsters who vote them in. They, and you, are no less inclined than Sarah Palin is to dismiss or ignore facts -- including science, which you claim to revere -- that contradicts your faith. Which, in the case of plastic bags, as with just about anything "green" in Seattle, boils down to a faith in keeping up appearances.

Here's the study. The conclusions start on page 59.…
Posted by Mister G on January 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
@3, grownups don't wear backpacks. But hey, thanks for making it impossible for anyone to get by you wherever you go.

I really like the heavyweight plastic t-shirt bags the HT Market gives out (for a nickel). The best dollar bags are the heavyweight ones at PCC; I use them in my bike baskets -- they're waterproof, unlike those ubiquitous green ones.

Mrs. Fnarf works in retail and partook of the giving away of the store's stock of suddenly-illegal plastic bags, so we still have enough for the trash. When they run out I'm going to buy some more on Amazon, $20 for a thousand, that's a lifetime's worth.

I notice that the beaches have shown a truly remarkable 0% decrease in plastic debris. Wait, no, make that a large increase, after last month's "king tide".
Posted by Fnarf on January 15, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Former Lurker 7
Sorry @1, I meant:

@3 LOL!
Posted by Former Lurker on January 15, 2013 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Former Lurker 6
@1 LOL!

@5 Exposure to germs occasionally keeps the superbugs from evolving...
Posted by Former Lurker on January 15, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Is there any evidence of bags going to peope's homes, being placed on floors with pets and shoes and whatever, and then getting gross germs on the checkstand surface where they sit next to my fresh produce? Weirds me out a little bit.
Posted by rubus on January 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM · Report this
I've had an awful lot of groceries smashed to fit into one paper bag, to save me the crippling expense of paying another whole nickel.
Posted by Ben on January 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
Seriously, who uses bags?

That's why god invented backpacks.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 15, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 2
I've bought an awful lot of paper bags for a nickel each.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 1
I've seen real shame when people have forgotten their bags. Not from the employees, but the customers themselves. That didn't exist before the ban.

Oh, and this.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM · Report this

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