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The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle City Council seems poised to adopt new legislation that would ban the use of free plastic shopping bags, and impose a five-cent fee apiece on paper shopping bags. If passed, it would take effect on July 1, 2012.

According to the story, “The Seattle ordinance is modeled on one adopted this year in Bellingham, which takes effect next summer ... Council members say the measure would help clean up Puget Sound and protect marine life.”

The story notes that Hilex Poly, the nation’s largest manufacturer of plastic bags, said yesterday it prefers a statewide approach, and said that the proposal is “simplistic” and “does not address plastic litter in all of its forms.”

PCC Natural Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest consumer-owned grocery retailer, has announced its support for the proposed ordinance, noting that it “discontinued offering plastic shopping bags to customers at all of its stores – within and outside of Seattle city limits – in October 2007. PCC shoppers responded very positively to the elimination of plastic bags at checkout; two-thirds of PCC customers bring their own reusable bags or opt not to use a PCC-provided paper bag for their baggable purchases.”

“PCC wholeheartedly endorses this highly visible and impactful step the City of Seattle is taking to reduce the considerable and unnecessary waste generated by the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags,” says Tracy Wolpert, PCC’s CEO. “We know from experience that consumers will ultimately view this ban as an initiative proposed with the health and safety of our communities and the environment in mind.”

The Times notes that Town & Country Markets, which has six grocery stores in the Seattle area, also supports the plastic-bag ban. "Getting plastic out of the system is the right thing to do," says Tony D'Onofrio, sustainability director for the markets.
KC's View:
The opinion here for a long time has been that these kinds of bans are coming, and it simply makes sense to embrace them rather than fight them. Customers will adapt, retailers will get rid of the cost of bags and add sales of reusable bags to their bottom lines, and peace will reign in the valley.