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Spokane residents react to bill to ban single-use plastic bags

SPOKANE, Wash. - The days of carrying plastic bags home after a shopping trip could be coming to an end. The Washington state senate passed a bill to ban single-use plastic bags, which is heading to the house. 

According to the Department of Public Works, 500 billion plastic bags are used each year around the world. Since they are difficult to recycle, most end up in landfills. 

"They aren't really sustainable. You know, you use them once, throw it away and it goes and creates more pollution. I personally have tried to cut out single-use plastics," said Ethan Smith, a Spokane resident who supports the bill.

So, Washington is aiming to reduce plastic bag pollution by banning them all together. It was passed in the state senate Tuesday night. 

"I think it's a fabulous idea," said Yolanda Dods, who lives in Spokane and also supports the bill. "We don't need anymore landfill. It should have been outlawed a long time ago." 

The bill would make some exemptions for small plastic bags, like those used to bag fruits and vegetables or meat. It would also require that any other bags, like paper bags, cost 8 cents. 

"Eight cents. We can afford it," Dods said.

Outside of my fresh basket, we asked shoppers what they thought of the idea. Everyone we spoke with said they are for it. 

"I think it would be overall more helpful, more sustainable, and I think cheaper for everyone in the long run," Smith said.

"I think if it's going to help the environment and it's going to get people... at first I think it's going to be hard for people, you know, everyone's going to complain, but in the long run I think it's going to be a good process," said Gerald Almanza, another Spokane citizen who supports the bill.

However, some Republican senators spoke out against the bill. One called it a "socialist method." 

Another bill was proposed in 2013 to ban plastic bags, but it never made it to a vote. 

Most do admit that if passed, it will likely take some getting used to. 

"It's not that difficult to do, it just takes a little more effort. And I think it's better for everyone in the long run," said Smith. 


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