Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grocery Bag Fee headed to Council

I have been waiting for this.......

20-cent charges for paper or plastic set to come up for vote next week


Lenny Rose has been talking to customers at the two Red Apple stores he owns in Seattle's Central Area as groceries are piled into their bags.

Do they know that the city wants to get rid of plastic and paper bags? That in a few months they will likely be charged 20 cents for each bag? That it might add an extra $2 or $4 to their grocery bill?

"We are talking about putting a tax on people, and most of them don't know it's coming," Rose said. "It is going to be a huge education process, and it is going to cause a lot of grief."

But such concerns didn't discourage Seattle city officials, who moved a step closer Tuesday toward becoming one of the few major American cities to discourage paper and plastic bags in favor of reusable bags, and to ban polystyrene food and drink containers.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the proposals Monday that were passed Tuesday by a committee. If adopted, the new legislation will launch a 90-day campaign to educate residents and shoppers before the 20-cent per bag fee goes into effect on Jan. 1.

The ban on plastic foam food take-out containers and cups also will take effect that day, if approved. However, a ban on plastic meat trays will be delayed for a year, allowing stores time to figure out alternatives.

"It was a lot of work getting here,' said Council President Richard Conlin, chairman of the Environment Committee.

The 20-cent fee would be charged at grocery, drug and convenience stores.


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