business news in context, analysis with attitude

Published reports say that a proposed 20-cent fee on all plastic and paper bags handed out by retail stores in the city of Seattle has been defeated in a referendum.

The city’s council had approved the fee about a year ago, but a petition drive forced a mail referendum; there are reports that in recent weeks the plastic bag industry spent upwards of $1.4 million in advertising to defeat the proposed fee.

Rob Gala, a city council staff member who supported the proposed fee, tells the New York Times that the defeat comes “because more people are concerned about their cost of living than what they take their groceries home in.”

“We see this is a disappointing setback,” he says, “but by no means the end of the larger effort to clean up consumer choices.”
KC's View:
Ultimately, consumer choices will be “cleaned up” when consumers choose to do so.

There’s no question that there is a grass roots movement toward the use of canvas and other kinds of reusable bags…I see it every day when I’m in stores. In the end, this is the best way to move in a direction that will be good for the planet and, ultimately, good for retailers’ bottom line.