I could not believe that our Island disposes of 5-7 MILLION plastic bags per year. For our small population that is an astonishing number. Please stop and think about alternatives.
e mail me at SusanGrosten@Windermere.com and I will supply a complimentary re-usable bag ( one per Bainbridge Island household) so we can begin to make a difference.
Information from Inside Bainbridge website
by Sarah Lane on January 8, 2012.
Four cities in Washington have done it. San Francisco has done it. Many third-world countries have done it. Even China has done it.
That’s what Mayor Hytopoulos said at last night’s City Council meeting about banning thin-film plastic bags. The meeting included a study session of a proposed ban on Bainbridge Island.
Katrina Rosen, the Field Director for Environment Washington, a citizen-based environmental advicacy group, addressed councilmembers at the meeting. She said Environment Washington has been working across the state to ban plastic bags because they represent a serious threat to Puget Sound. She said that the University of Washington has been taking water samples form the Sound and has found “a ton of plastic in every sample.” She said that the beached gray whale in West Seattle last year had 20 plastic bags in its stomach.
Councilmember David Ward asked Rosen if the the plastic bags had contributed to the whale’s demise. Rosen said they hadn’t determined that yet, but even if it didn’t she didn’t feel comfortable with the fact that the whale had ingested that many plastic bags.
She added that plastic bags “never go away,” and that fewer than 6 percent are recycled.
Hytopoulos said that because we are an island, surrounded by coastline, we have an obligation to take action. She emphasized that we have alternatives to bags and that the ordinance she supports would allow paper bags to be used and include a cost recovery of 5 cents per bag. This measure is supported by Larry Nakata, owner of Town and Country, she said.
She added that there are 5 to 7 million bags used on Bainbridge Island per year.
In the public comment section, Diane Landry, said that single-use bags are wasteful. They said that 20 percent of Town and Country customers bring their own bags but there needs to be an increase in that number. Dawn Snider said that we need to consider the causes and effects of petroleum-based dependency, and she said that Consumer Reports has debunked a myth about reusable bags being conducive to bacteria growth. Landry and Snider both happen to be members of Zero Waste Bainbridge.
Another commenter said that people on Bainbridge tend to be “forward thinking,” and that we should take this step now instead of later when everyone else has already done it. Barb Zimmer called it “a logical and ethical decision” and encouraged people to go a step further and use compostable bags for situations such as packaging take-out food.
Hytopoulos concluded the evening’s discussion by pointing out that the Downtown Business Association has endorsed the ban, which would not even affect most establishments on Winslow Way as it would not pertain to thicker plastic bags. She said is it was “step one in eliminating plastic from our lives.” She recommended an additional study session on the topic and proposed that in preparation the council examine the work already done by the Seattle City Council as a way to guide their discussion.
Photos by Tim Parkinson, Zainub Razvi, and Konstantinos Koukopoulos.