Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

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storewanderer
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Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » March 6th, 2019, 6:30 pm

Well, it isn't really a plastic bag ban. It is just a pay for your bag and get a much thicker plastic bag bill. I don't think I've ever seen an 8 cent bag fee before (I wonder if the stores will even bother with the 8 cents or just charge the 10 cents).

Still this is an increase from the 5 cent fee in place in places like Seattle. Also I don't think the current rules in Seattle allow those super thick plastic bags (I may be wrong)... but this new statewide bill does.

These governments have no clue what they are doing with these bag bans. Banning thin bags and then charging for bags that are 10 times thicker is pointless unless you cut bag use by 90% (which sure hasn't happened in California). No net effect on the plastic bag pollution amount, just more people inconvenienced and fewer people getting bags.

If you are going to ban plastic bags, ban those super thick "reusable" ones too. They aren't reusable because they get over-packed and puncture on the first use.

At this point I think the better solution is continuing to allow the thin bags but having a surcharge for the bags (5 cents) to deter over-use. I think that would be a much more effective way to cut bag use.

Also it looks like this applies to ALL retailers (not just those with a liquor license like in California).

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by architect » March 6th, 2019, 7:11 pm

storewanderer wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 6:30 pm
Well, it isn't really a plastic bag ban. It is just a pay for your bag and get a much thicker plastic bag bill. I don't think I've ever seen an 8 cent bag fee before (I wonder if the stores will even bother with the 8 cents or just charge the 10 cents).

Still this is an increase from the 5 cent fee in place in places like Seattle. Also I don't think the current rules in Seattle allow those super thick plastic bags (I may be wrong)... but this new statewide bill does.

These governments have no clue what they are doing with these bag bans. Banning thin bags and then charging for bags that are 10 times thicker is pointless unless you cut bag use by 90% (which sure hasn't happened in California). No net effect on the plastic bag pollution amount, just more people inconvenienced and fewer people getting bags.

If you are going to ban plastic bags, ban those super thick "reusable" ones too. They aren't reusable because they get over-packed and puncture on the first use.

At this point I think the better solution is continuing to allow the thin bags but having a surcharge for the bags (5 cents) to deter over-use. I think that would be a much more effective way to cut bag use.

Also it looks like this applies to ALL retailers (not just those with a liquor license like in California).
I definitely agree that these bag bans nationwide have often been poorly implemented. However, the reason for requiring the thicker bags is actually that they are much more difficult to swallow for smaller sealife and birds, helping to alleviate some of the problems of the traditional thin bags. The heavier weight also makes it more difficult for them to travel over long distances.

Dallas actually got caught in a bad situation with a plastic bag surcharge back in 2013. At the time, the city enacted an ordinance requiring businesses to charge 5 cents for every plastic or single-use bag offered. Reusable bags which could be used for at least 100 uses could still be provided for free. There were a couple of major caveats though. First of all, the ordinance required that the bags being provided had the business' name printed on them to allow the city to contact and potentially fine businesses whose bags frequently ended up in lakes/streams or were otherwise found as environmental waste. This was a major burden for small businesses, many of whom could not afford the cost of custom bags and threatened to sue the city. In addition, Dallas is small enough geographically that many residents simply elected to cross into other neighboring cities such as Irving, Addison, Plano, Richardson, Mesquite, etc. to shop with less hassle, which was causing Dallas significantly in lost sales tax revenue. A couple of years later with the threat of litigation looming, the city decided to pull the plug. Since then, the Texas Supreme Court has actually ruled that local bag bans conflict with state-level waste regulations, and are thereby illegal. It will be interesting to see when this fight comes back up again in the state, as several other cities such as Austin and Laredo had enacted bans which were actually effective and had more popular support than the failed Dallas ban.

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Super S » March 6th, 2019, 8:21 pm

I wonder what kind of fee they will impose on paper bags...

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » March 6th, 2019, 10:17 pm

Super S wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 8:21 pm
I wonder what kind of fee they will impose on paper bags...
The Dallas ban seemed to try to do way too much at once... if they had just done a bag fee and ended it at that, it may have worked. Maybe too many people in and around Dallas feel the way I do about these bag bans and bag fees.

Some retailers in Austin are continuing with whatever the ban there was (HEB and Randalls specifically, and possibly Wal Mart too) while other retailers (Target) have switched back to providing the thin plastic bags.

I think in Washington the paper bags get the same 8 cent fee (minimum).

The other thing that bothers me about this is that is creates added hassle for a customer to purchase from a physical retail store. Whatever the environmental impact of these bags is, I am confident there is much more environmental impact when the customer opts to purchase online and get the item shipped in a box, filled with plastic or foam packaging materials, tape, labels, etc. delivered by a delivery truck direct to their home which is polluting the air to go from house to house with all that stopping and going.

I am surprised more of the general retail chains (clothing, hardware, pet) are not fighting this in Washington state since it impacts them there, whereas in California it did not impact them. I expect once we see this go through in Washington, we may see California try to expand its ban to cover all retailers.

The bag ban is largely a failure in California. Few people are using reusable bags (depending where you are, I find it ranges from 0% to about 25%) which was the intention of the ban. Many people simply take no bags at all and juggle items out the door (this is slower at checkout and a customer hassle). But lately I am seeing more and more people in California just paying the bag fee and buying bags. I was just observing this in Sacramento last week. Rather than screw around juggling items you may as well order shelf stable goods online and get them delivered to your home free or go to Costco and buy by the case which is bundled together and easier to handle without a screwy "bag fee."

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Super S » March 8th, 2019, 1:43 pm

storewanderer wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 10:17 pm
Super S wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 8:21 pm
I wonder what kind of fee they will impose on paper bags...
The Dallas ban seemed to try to do way too much at once... if they had just done a bag fee and ended it at that, it may have worked. Maybe too many people in and around Dallas feel the way I do about these bag bans and bag fees.

Some retailers in Austin are continuing with whatever the ban there was (HEB and Randalls specifically, and possibly Wal Mart too) while other retailers (Target) have switched back to providing the thin plastic bags.

I think in Washington the paper bags get the same 8 cent fee (minimum).

The other thing that bothers me about this is that is creates added hassle for a customer to purchase from a physical retail store. Whatever the environmental impact of these bags is, I am confident there is much more environmental impact when the customer opts to purchase online and get the item shipped in a box, filled with plastic or foam packaging materials, tape, labels, etc. delivered by a delivery truck direct to their home which is polluting the air to go from house to house with all that stopping and going.

I am surprised more of the general retail chains (clothing, hardware, pet) are not fighting this in Washington state since it impacts them there, whereas in California it did not impact them. I expect once we see this go through in Washington, we may see California try to expand its ban to cover all retailers.

The bag ban is largely a failure in California. Few people are using reusable bags (depending where you are, I find it ranges from 0% to about 25%) which was the intention of the ban. Many people simply take no bags at all and juggle items out the door (this is slower at checkout and a customer hassle). But lately I am seeing more and more people in California just paying the bag fee and buying bags. I was just observing this in Sacramento last week. Rather than screw around juggling items you may as well order shelf stable goods online and get them delivered to your home free or go to Costco and buy by the case which is bundled together and easier to handle without a screwy "bag fee."
Or...more retailers might adapt the Costco method of using boxes instead of bags, unless they come up with a fee for that too.

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » March 8th, 2019, 11:11 pm

I haven't seen any boxes in the major chains in California except some boxes "for sale" in Safeway.

Boxes would make a lot of sense. The stores pay cardboard haulers to come and haul the boxes away, plus they use labor and energy to break the boxes down and run them into the compactor.

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by klkla » March 10th, 2019, 11:27 am

storewanderer wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 11:11 pm
The stores pay cardboard haulers to come and haul the boxes away
I think they sell the cardboard bales, don't they? Not 100% certain but I seem to remember it working that way in the past. We didn't leave them outside because people would steal them in the middle of the night using pick up trucks.

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » March 10th, 2019, 1:19 pm

klkla wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 11:27 am
storewanderer wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 11:11 pm
The stores pay cardboard haulers to come and haul the boxes away
I think they sell the cardboard bales, don't they? Not 100% certain but I seem to remember it working that way in the past. We didn't leave them outside because people would steal them in the middle of the night using pick up trucks.
It used to work that way, and it may still work that way in some places. But here in Nevada, those who used to come take cardboard for free have started to charge to take it away. I think some other country that the US used to sell a lot of used cardboard to, stopped buying as much of it. I have been hearing about this from places here now for the past few years.

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by BillyGr » March 11th, 2019, 1:48 pm

storewanderer wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 1:19 pm
klkla wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 11:27 am
storewanderer wrote:
March 8th, 2019, 11:11 pm
The stores pay cardboard haulers to come and haul the boxes away
I think they sell the cardboard bales, don't they? Not 100% certain but I seem to remember it working that way in the past. We didn't leave them outside because people would steal them in the middle of the night using pick up trucks.
It used to work that way, and it may still work that way in some places. But here in Nevada, those who used to come take cardboard for free have started to charge to take it away. I think some other country that the US used to sell a lot of used cardboard to, stopped buying as much of it. I have been hearing about this from places here now for the past few years.
That's been an issue with many recyclables since China stopped buying as much of that stuff from us - here they are even charging an annual fee at the local center for dropping off all types of recyclables (which had always been no charge, while trash was charged by the bag).

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Re: Washington Senate passes Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » March 11th, 2019, 8:22 pm

BillyGr wrote:
March 11th, 2019, 1:48 pm
storewanderer wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 1:19 pm
klkla wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 11:27 am


I think they sell the cardboard bales, don't they? Not 100% certain but I seem to remember it working that way in the past. We didn't leave them outside because people would steal them in the middle of the night using pick up trucks.
It used to work that way, and it may still work that way in some places. But here in Nevada, those who used to come take cardboard for free have started to charge to take it away. I think some other country that the US used to sell a lot of used cardboard to, stopped buying as much of it. I have been hearing about this from places here now for the past few years.
That's been an issue with many recyclables since China stopped buying as much of that stuff from us - here they are even charging an annual fee at the local center for dropping off all types of recyclables (which had always been no charge, while trash was charged by the bag).
And this is the issue with all these plastic bag bans. They don't reduce waste. Not enough people use reusable bags. The added waste from people taking the super thick plastic bags more than makes up for whatever reduction takes place with the thin bags going away. Add to that people buying more trash bags, overpriced pet waste bags (saw some packages of those going for about $15 at Petsmart the other night... yikes), and the whole thing is nothing but a complete scam and joke. The only one who may come out in this is the retailer who is getting the bag fee revenue, but I still argue the efficiency loss outweighs that revenue gain.

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