If plastic bags were a species, they would be well on their way of topping the endangered species list. Tomorrow, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon is planning to introduce legislation to ban plastic bags in every square inch of Washington. If passed, the Evergreen State would be the first in the nation to bid adieu to the disposable bags, which has rapidly become the issue du jour.
The Daily Weekly could not reach Fitzgibbon for comment late yesterday, but there are reports that the Burien Democrat has aligned himself with advocacy group Environment Washington in pursuing the bag-ban bill.
Environment Washington estimates that more than 292 million disposal bags are distributed in Seattle each years.
Fitzgibbon's measure comes on the heels of bans enacted in Seattle, Bellingham, Edmonds and Mukilteo, all of who are giving plastic bags the heave-ho. Seattle's ban takes effect on July 1, though activist Craig Keller is trying to kill it with a petition drive aimed to put the issue before voters in the August primary. He needs nearly 16,000 signatures, though, and barely has 200 so far.
The ban would not apply to the smaller plastic bags used to carry bulk foods, dairy, produce, and meat.
The Fitzgibbon measure would also require that stores use only recycled paper bags, defined as bags produced by a manufacturer that uses at least 40 percent recycled materials, and would bar cities from charging a tax or fee to use paper bags.
Seattle's ban imposes a 5-cent fee on paper bags for customers, which will be used to reimburse retailers. Fitzgibbon's legislative proposal also contains the same "pass-through charge" that will apply in Seattle.
California lawmakers tried last year to pass a statewide ban, but it was rejected by voters following a massive ad campaign mounted by the plastics industry.