Local shoppers react to potential plastic bag ban & paper bag tax

Local shoppers react to potential plastic bag ban & paper bag tax

The way you grocery shop could be about to change. The Washington State legislature is considering a bill that would ban all those free plastic bags you get now, and start charging you for the paper ones that will replace them.

If passed, the entire state would join the 19 cities in Washington that currently have plastic bag bans in place – including Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds.

The plan is to ban all single-use plastic bags that we get everyday right now and replace them with paper and compostable bags, which will cost you $0.10 each.

Five-trillion plastic bags are made every year, which is enough to wrap around the world seven times. They take between 700 and 1,000 years to biodegrade.

A spokesperson from the Seattle Aquarium said plastic has been found inside the stomachs of nearly 700 species of marine life. It’s this environmental damage that Washington leaders are trying to prevent.

KXLY4 asked local shoppers what they think. The response was mixed, with some saying it is an unfair, regressive tax for poor people. While others said they wouldn’t care, because they already bring their own bags.

“A lot of plastic bags by the score are not necessary and there are a lot of detrimental effects to them,” said Robert Heacock, local shopper.

The state legislature is considering banning plastic bags and charging you for paper and compostable bags at $0.10 each.

“I’m a high school teacher retired and the kids are really into recycling – and it’s hard not to notice that it is much better for us,” said Melanie Heacock, another local shopper.

Some shoppers said they wouldn’t mind a tax, because they don’t use plastic bags in the first place. They use reusable bags out of habit.

“It’s not hard to get a couple of these and put them in your car and use them,” said Lisa Kuhar, local shopper.

“I think it’s a good idea to keep a bunch of them in your car. I probably have a dozen of them in the back of my car at one time,” Robert Heacock said.

“The only time I don’t use them is if I happen to carry them in the house, so they’re not in the car. Or if I go into buy two things and I buy 22 things and I didn’t bring in enough bags,” Lisa Kuhar said.

The new law would charge a dime on paper bags, but some people said they don’t plan on paying even a penny more.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Kimberly Thompson, a local shopper.

“I’d bring in my own bag and carry my groceries out or department store or whatever it may be,” said Al Pharness, a local shopper.

Others said they’d be willing to pay extra.

“I think that’s what I have to do to be responsible,” Melanie Heacock said.

This is not a done deal, the bill is still being written. It will be introduced in the 2019 legislative session. If it does pass, businesses that have plastic bags in their inventory will have until the end of 2019 to use them.

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