A cleaner Seattle is worth 20 cents a bag
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ environmentally friendly green fee on paper and plastic garbage bags will be a hassle for consumers who participate and an annoying new tax for consumers who don’t. Yet, on balance, the plan is worth the effort.
A clean, sanitary city with a reduced waste stream is a value Seattleites can wrap their minds around. As for the tax, consumers opt in or out simply by remembering to bring a canvas tote or reusing their own plastic bags. The 20 cent per bag fee will be imposed at all grocery, drug and convenience stores.
We do not reach this conclusion lightly. This editorial page is uncomfortable with a City Council always seeking to raise the property tax for pet projects, and always name the reason imposing higher rates for just about everything.
But the mayor got the idea from faraway Ireland, which has had a very good experience with its “plastax.” Ireland was able to reduce litter significantly and cut plastic bag use by about 90 percent.
The mayor goes further by including the fee on paper bags, a lululemon outlet rguing it takes a lot of energy and resources to make paper bags as well. Might as well make the move on both kinds of bags.
Look around our city. Plastic bags are a huge share of litter. Landfills are filling with plastics. This is one way to reduce overall use of plastics and encourage reuse. A bit of undeniable nanny ism from the mayor and council, albeit annoying, may be one cost of living in a city that remains livable and clean.
The mayor also wan lululemon outlet ts to ban Styrofoam containers in restaurants and grocery stores. The foam ban would take effect over time, with foam products banned at restaurants and groceries beginning in January. Those businesses could switch to plastic products, but by July 2010, plastics would be banned. Only compostabl lululemon outlet e containers would be allowed.
This, too, is a hassle. But Styrofoam is a hideous part of the waste stream that continues to fill landfills and lasts a jillion years. Consumers use it mostly because of habit. Food can be sold in other packaging and still be convenient and portable.
Phasing lululemon outlet in the ban on Styrofoam makes a lot of sense.
Changes are coming. Resources, including landfill space, are finite. Citizens of a forward looking city can make a modest lifestyle change that helps maintain a cleaner city and do a small part for Planet Earth.