Environmental enthusiasts in Seattle are urging their fellow residents to vote yes on a referendum to impose a 20-cent fee on disposable bags, The Seattle Times reported.
Seattle residents annually throw away an average of 600 grocery bags per person.
To motivate customers to embrace sustainable practices and move away from using plastic bags, the City Council voted 6-1 to impose a 20-cent fee on disposable grocery, drug, superstore and convenience-store carry-home bags, and the mayor enthusiastically signed the ordinance.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC), formerly known as “Chemical Manufacturers Association,” has already spent more than $1 million to overturn Seattle’s grocery-bag law.
Exxon, Chevron, DuPont and other giants in the ACC said in campaign ads that the 20-cent fee will harm the poor. Advocates counter that much of the fee revenue will be used to provide free reusable bags to poor people, and anyone who uses reusable bags will pay no fees, The Seattle Times reported.
The ACC said disposability is a non-issue seeing as plastic bags can be recycled. Those who support the bill argued only 2% of customers recycle plastic bags, and then they are shipped to Asia where they are processed into low-grade products in factories with few if any toxic emissions standards.