Edmonds plastic bag ban starts today




Posted on August 26, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 27 at 12:11 PM

EDMONDS, Wash. - Today the City of Edmonds will impose a ban on plastic bags at the checkout counter. And they'll be the first city in the state to do it.

At the Edmonds QFC Thursday night, the last of the plastic checkout bags were going out the door. This morning, customers didn't notice much of a change. Brown paper bags were piled up at the cash registers and the store's reusable totes were on sale 2 for $1.00.

"I don't like the plastic bags anyway, " says customer Ligia Ellis of Edmonds. Ellis adds, "I've been using reusable bags for the past 4 years, long before this law, so I don't expect to see much difference."

"In the interest of change and to preserve the Earth or what we have left of it, let's go with paper then," said shopper John Holleman.

The goal of the law is to reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment. Plastic bags fill our dumps and take years to disintegrate.

Not all plastic is banned. Plastic bags used for produce, meat, or bulk food is exempt, along with plastic bags used for takeout food from restaurants.

Businesses that violate the law face a first time fine of $100, which can go up to $250 for additional violations.

Some say citizens need encouragement, not coercion. 

"Plus we're going to have plastic bag police out there and we're gonna fine these evil merchants that don't do it on time," said another shopper, John Helgren. "Ridiculous, immature, I think it's just sad."

And, some customers question if this tactic will really help.

"I think it's a good idea, but it's not going to change the world," says Edmonds resident Bob Preece.

"Maybe not, but we need to start somewhere and it might as well be here in Edmonds," chimes in Maria Case of Edmonds.

Petosa's Family Grocer store is way ahead of the curve. The Grocer's checkout counters went plastic bag free two years ago. The manager thinks the public is ready.

"I think by and large they were very graceful with the transition. Not everyone liked it, but they accepted it," said manager Kevin Lynn.

Grocery stores say one problem with paper bags is that they're almost triple the price of plastic, especially the ones with handles. So groceries stores like QFC say those handles will be going away as well.

One mom says those handles kept one of her hands free to hold on to more important things, like her two little girls. 

"So how will I carry them, because usually I have my hands full, because I have at least one child. So it will be difficult," she said.