Sept 25 - Thurston County, WA Adopts Bag Ordinance

Thurston County, WA adopted a single-use plastic bag ordinance yesterday, joining Tumwater, which was the first city in the county to adopt an ordinance last week. Both ordinances ban single-use plastic bags at all retailers and allow a 5 cent charge for paper bags.

Both ordinances will go into effect in July, 2014, according to The Olympian.

Thurston County’s ordinance had strong support from the community, including the local grocers association.

Holly Chisa, a representative of the Northwest Grocery Association, said her group favors the ban. "We’ve tried signs, we’ve tried recycle bins, we’ve tried notes," she said, but nothing seems to work. "We have found through ordinances all over the country and throughout the state that this is the ordinance that works."

Thurston County announced in August that its recycling center would no longer accept plastic bags for recycling due to market changes that have drastically cut demand.

The Olympia, WA City Council will consider a bag ordinance next week.

Seven out of the 10 largest cities in California have either already adopted local bag ordinances (San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Long Beach and Oakland), or are considering them (San Diego, Sacramento). One-third of California’s population now lives in communities covered under local ordinances.

Communities are taking action because clean up and management costs related to marine pollution in this state alone are estimated at about half a billion each year. And plastic bags are a deadly threat to marine wildlife when they accidentally ingest or become entangled in them.

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Photo: Plastic bags clogging recycling machinery

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