Seattle Bans Plastic Bags

More U.S. cities go green and ban the use of plastic bags in retail outlets.

The ban on plastic bags continues as Seattle bans single-use plastic shopping bags at all businesses in the city, according to an Examiner report.

The ban went into effect on Sunday, as was approved by the Seattle City Council in December. Under the ban, all businesses, including grocery stores, retail stores, convenience stores, sporting goods stores, farmers markets, home-improvement stores and independent shops are prohibited from handing out plastic bags to customers.

Stores that do not comply will be fined $250 each time.

The Seattle Times reports that 292 million plastic bags are used per year in the city, and only 13% are being recycled. These excess bags cause trouble for marine wildlife in the area. 

Plaid Pantries operates two convenience stores that are affected by the recent ban. Tim Cote, vice president of marketing, said the new ban is only a small concern for the chain.

“It is a cost issue that will hurt us a bit, but it’s nothing more than that,” Cote said.

Cote said most customers have been using the store’s paper bags as opposed to reusable bags. 

“Most customers who use the reusable bags already purchased them at larger stores that have sold them for years,” Cote said. “Our paper bags are free, but there are other stores (along the West Coast) that want to sell paper bags.” 

Other retailers have decided to sell paper bags to customers with a 5-cent fee, which will most likely reduce the need for paper bags, as well at some locations.

Cote said the recent trend to ban plastic bags has impacted retailers across the West Coast, including the Portland-area where Plaid Pantries is headquartered. He said the bans will eventually hit the Portland market, but not in the near future.

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