July 23- Business Thrives Under County Bag Ban

Thurston County, Washington’s plastic bag ban went into effect 3 weeks ago, on July 1st, 2014.
Over this time, the ban has been immensely successful for local business, as detailed by a recent Business Examiner article.
The county points to community involvement as one source of this success. Local businesses and consumers were involved at every step in the planning process. At the initial ban proposal most businesses were in support, as they’ve seen other similar bans successfully implanted without problem. Terry Thomas, Thurston County Waste Reduction Supervisor, highlighted the fact that although, "some thought it might cost them more money…in reality it can save them money." Especially with the required 5 cent charge on paper, stores are able to compensate for the cost of providing bags to their customers.
According to Thomas, retailers, restaurants, and other sites using single use plastic bags have all been supportive of the ban. The Northwest Grocery Association said that businesses support the ban because it’s the only way reducing plastic litter is successful. Onsite recycling programs and suggestions to bring reusable have not been successful in Thurston.
In fact Le May Inc., Thurston’s top recycling company, stopped its plastic bag services last October due to the low demand. With an estimated 90 million plastic bags used a year in Thurston County, and virtually non-existent recycling rates, the county’s businesses, residents, and legislators agreed the ordinance was the best solution.
So far, the ordinance has been extremely successful, and business is thriving. The Olympia Trader Joe’s alone is already using 50 percent fewer bags daily, and more residents are transitioning to reusable bags.
Congrats Thurston County!
California hopes to emulate this success at the state level with our own bag ban, SB 270.
Photo Credit: The Olympian