Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« It's A Rich Man's World | A Streetcar Named Eh »

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bag Fee to Pass; World to Go On Turning

posted by on July 14 at 15:59 PM

The city council’s environment, emergency management, and utilities committee is expected to pass the much-discussed, much-reviled legislation imposing a 20-cent fee on disposable bags next Tuesday, July 22, and the full council is expected to pass the fee the following Monday. The legislation also includes a ban on Styrofoam food containers and meat trays. In a nod to the grocery industry, which opposed the ban and fee, the council will give grocery stores longer—between six months and a year—to find affordable replacements for Styrofoam meat trays; currently, recycled paper packaging and trays made from corn cost about ten times as much as foam.

The fee will go into effect January 1, 2009.

RSS icon Comments



Posted by Justin | July 14, 2008 4:12 PM


Posted by Jo Marie | July 14, 2008 4:19 PM

Who says our city council is worthless? Its inspiring to see what can be accomplished when like minds get together to tackle such an important issue.

Next up, Greg Nickels takes his problem solving skills to Eastern Washington to piss on raging wildfires.

Yay for the retards!

Posted by Clint | July 14, 2008 4:22 PM

Looks like any City Council contributions I'd have made over the next couple years are going to have to be saved in order to take groceries home.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 14, 2008 4:23 PM

Gonna be a lot more poo on my parking strip.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 14, 2008 4:23 PM

@4 Shut up and buy a reusable bag you douche

Posted by crispy | July 14, 2008 4:38 PM

Hey, Erica: Did you notice (but not mention) that the Times endorsed it? Or does that not fit in with your agenda of bashing the dailies at every turn?

Posted by bigyaz | July 14, 2008 4:46 PM

@4, what 6 said.

@5, I was in Buenos Aires in May and their is dog shit everywhere. I really mean EVERYWHERE. All over the sidewalks. It's completely gross. And if you go to any kind of convenience/grocery store or pharmacy, they give you like one un-reusable plastic bag for every item you purchase. After 8 days there I had about 50 of them in my hotel room. An over-abundance of plastic bags does not equal clean sidewalks or parking strips. This is about a social contract. If people have a dog here, my guess is that they will figure something out, regardless of whether or not plastic bags are free. And if they don't, well, pick it up and shove it down their throat.

Reusable bags, people. It's not that big a deal.

Posted by rb | July 14, 2008 4:55 PM

I STILL don't understand why this law doesn't apply to ALL stores in the city, only grocery, drug, and convenience stores. In my local strip mall, the drugstore has to obey but the autok parts store next door does not.

Has anyone seen a logical reason to discriminate in this manner? I inquired to my city councilmember and received no response.

Posted by Bagman | July 14, 2008 4:56 PM

Good question, @9.

And why aren't city council members not bringing their own lunches in and using thermos containers for their drinks?

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 14, 2008 5:02 PM

Will anyone be voting against?

Posted by Trevor | July 14, 2008 5:05 PM

Now we can all feel good about ourselves!! People, we have CHANGED THE WORLD, ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME!!!

ECB, how do I apply for one of the multiple full time city jobs this EXCITING NEW TAX will create? I can't wait to buy my new SUV!!! Thank you Seattle tax payers!!!!

Posted by pointless | July 14, 2008 5:19 PM

Goddammit. What's my meat supposed to do, leak all over my reusable grocery bag?

Feel free fellow commenters to call me a douche or any other name in response. Doesn't really change anything.

Posted by Joe M | July 14, 2008 5:21 PM


New taxes!
More government regulation!
Less personal responsibility!
New city bureaucracy!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO Hooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by tax and spend | July 14, 2008 5:21 PM

Thank God.

If this didn't pass the world would have stopped turning!

Posted by phew | July 14, 2008 5:25 PM

Plastic bags, styro containers, and cardboard should be banned. Production should cease, etc. It's time to get real about all this.

Posted by Marko Constans | July 14, 2008 5:29 PM

Makes me feel proud to be an American with all craptastic reasons people can't bring a bag with them to the store. (SARCASM)

Seriously, this minor change in one's shopping habits really makes people pee their pants, cry, and shit themselves.

Fucking grow up and accept a bit of change in your life.

Posted by robot2501 | July 14, 2008 5:32 PM

Fucking grow up and accept some change to your life.

This is a very trivial thing people can do to make a visible real difference to help the city.

Posted by robot2501 | July 14, 2008 5:37 PM

@17 Makes me feel all Proud American to see a government passing new taxes 2/3 of it's constituents oppose.

Posted by Dick Cheney | July 14, 2008 5:40 PM

@18 yes, this is going to make a REAL difference. the BIG EFFECTIVE REVOLUTIONARY changes in society have always been brought about by tiny inconsequential nanny laws.

the planet is saved.

(if i still need to worry please pass more laws telling me what to do. thanks.)

Posted by sheep | July 14, 2008 5:45 PM

@19 but Dick, those citizens don't know any better. they are the little people. the little ignorant people. only the seattle city council's wisdom can save them from themselves.

Posted by Erica | July 14, 2008 5:49 PM

Damn, I'll have to buy plastic bags for my dog. Or steal them from the dog park.

Actually, since Trader Joe's only has paper, this won't matter to me at all.

Does this include paper? Or is it just plastic...too lazy to go read it myself.

Posted by Tizzle | July 14, 2008 6:21 PM

Maybe there's hope for the latte tax, after all!!!

Posted by oneway | July 14, 2008 6:28 PM


Yes, too bad you don't live in a democracy and thus can't vote those politicians out of office.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 14, 2008 6:50 PM

I'm opening a dog diaper service.

Posted by DOUG. | July 14, 2008 6:56 PM

Looks like the stores now have a new revenue stream! Thanks City Council and Erica!

Under the new law, the stores get to keep either 75% or 100%

From the new law:

D. On a quarterly basis and as otherwise may be required by the Director, all stores required to collect Green Fees under this section shall report and remit the City's portion of the Green Fees collected to the Director, as provided below, and may retain the remaining portion to offset administrative and other costs incurred in implementing the Green Fee required by this section.

1. Grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores with annual gross sales of less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) may retain one hundred percent (100%) of the total amount collected.

2. Grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores with annual gross sales of one million dollars ($1,000,000) or more shall remit seventy-five percent (75%) of the total amount collected to the City.

Posted by Dave Coffman | July 14, 2008 7:42 PM

I'm thinking about giving Tim Eyman a call....

Posted by NapoleonXIV | July 14, 2008 8:34 PM

@13, stores will still have the plastic produce bags, which are not taxed. Insert meat into plastic bag, and then into your reusable shopping bag, and voila. Or, just pay the 20 cents and you can still get a plastic shopping bag.

@26, only if people ask for a bag when they shop in said store. In Ireland a similar tax reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%. I don't see what is wrong with that.

Posted by rb | July 14, 2008 9:18 PM

People in Seattle complain about putting their groceries in a re-usable bag?

Are these people in fifth grade or something?

When I was growing up we carried our bags to the store so the bagger could fill them while we talked.....I am only 49 years old.

Posted by Hartiepie | July 14, 2008 9:42 PM

I'm just glad that I can pay a small fee and still fuck up the environment. "Triple-bag it, bag boy. Here's 60-cents. Hell, here's $1.20 so you can triple-bag your own groceries, my plebian UFCW friend. Ta-ta."

Posted by Lionel Hutz | July 14, 2008 10:32 PM


Stop smoking.
Stop drinking and driving.
Stop using your cellphone while
Stop applying makeup while driving.
Stop littering.
Stop taking your pitbull off its leash.

Stop being a douchebag.

Posted by robot2501 | July 14, 2008 11:11 PM

@29 I'm sure you walked up hill 20 miles both ways in 2' of snow to do it too. Also, Get Off Your Lawn. *sigh*


As for Jan 1, 2009. At least that gives us the election to put something on the ballot to repeal this law. Also, don't forget, vote out the city councilmen who vote for the fee. They do not represent the interests of the people.

Posted by TheMisanthrope | July 14, 2008 11:34 PM

First they came came for the disposable bags and I just made snarky comments 'case I don't live in Seattle
Then they came for the disposable weekly newspapers and I just laughed
Then the came for the non-disposable books and burned down my house, Fuck!

Posted by 451 | July 15, 2008 12:02 AM

@32 -- Thanks for confirming my suspcions that the complainers are fifth-graders.

Since you are having trouble reading between the lines, giving away bags is an added cost to the consumer that is relatively new.

Posted by Hartiepie | July 15, 2008 4:49 AM


How is it less personal responsibility when no one was being responsible?

Posted by NaFun | July 15, 2008 8:02 AM

@34 Ahhh, I see what you're saying. That age old argument that, because we're already paying for the plastic bags through a higher price in groceries, getting rid of them (or not having them to begin with) should result in a lower cost of groceries?

Excuse me while I laugh my realistically cynical fifth grader head off.

Or, how about these lines? Creating a government position to promote and enforce these positions reek of nepotism. How much do you want to bet that the people who will get these jobs will have some relation to the city councilmen and it will be some floppy junky relative where they can't hold down a real job, so we'll give them a flunky slacker job so they can be off somebody's back at the taxpayer's expense. How's that for fifth-grader cynicism?

Or, how about these lines? Anybody who wants to create legislation and new government departments to monitor and enforce everybody else's behavior are hateful distrustful people who have no respect for other people's rights, money, or freedoms. They, themselves, believe that they, and the whole of the human race, are perpetually fifth graders for not believing the same thing that they consider basic knowledge and beliefs. Thus, they want to create a nanny state to closely monitor everybody to keep the public under a constant state of reprimand, moving us closer to a socialist society which have always succeeded in the end and has moved society towards a utopia. Or, so they believe.

Posted by TheMisanthrope | July 15, 2008 8:40 AM


I wonder if Roger Valdez is looking for work.

Posted by Mr. X | July 15, 2008 9:00 AM

@36 AMEN

@31 I guess you are mighty proud of the nanny state! You should go live in Singapore or Malaysia, lots of good laws and penalties about littering and smoking and such. You'd love it.

Posted by seattle is hopeless | July 15, 2008 9:07 AM

@35 it's less personal responsibility because instead of educating people to THINK about being green, the city decided to just make everyone comply. Sounds good, but it doesn't create a change in attitudes -- less impact when people aren't doing this on their own.

Imagine spending a couple hundred thousand a year on green campaigns in supermarkets, instead of spending a couple hundred thousand a year on new city employees (2 new jobs for people to sit in city hall are created by the law, simply to account/collect the taxes).

Posted by logic | July 15, 2008 9:13 AM

@26: I'm only making the judgment that no matter what happens, corporate once again comes out on top. I actually don't mind too much the bag rule, after all if I need one the extra 20 cents won't matter.

And for those of you whining about me using bags occasionally, I was using other methods for the most long before this law. My suggestion: get one of those granny carts, or next time you're at IKEA buy several of the reusable bags. When you have 20-30 of those IKEA bags you can use them for a variety of things.

However, for you "purists" I will use bags when I need to. We don't buy groceries like most of the Capital Hill gang by what we can carry. We buy in bulk.

Posted by Dave Coffman | July 15, 2008 9:45 AM

i guess we can start hoarding our plastic bags now? and i will now have to buy plastic garbage bags.

Posted by am i supposed to buy 15 canvas bags? | July 15, 2008 11:45 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.