Seattle passes ban on single-use plastic carryout bags

Published: December 20, 2011 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Sustainability, Public Policy, Film & Sheet

SEATTLE, WASH. (Dec. 20, 10:20 p.m. ET) — Seattle has become the third largest city in the United States to ban single-use plastic carryout bags.

The nine-member city council passed the ban unanimously Dec. 19. It is scheduled to go into effect July 1.

It is the second time the city has attempted to regulate the use of plastic carryout bags. The 20-cent fee Seattle council placed on plastic bags in 2008 was overturned before it went into effect by an August 2009 voter referendum.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised by the result of today’s vote by the Seattle City Council to rush toward a plastic bag ban and impose a paper bag tax,” said Mark Daniels, vice president of sustainability and environmental policy for the nation’s largest plastic bag manufacturer, Hilex Poly Co. LLC, which is based in Hartsville, S.C.

“By voting to implement a ban on plastic bags, the city of Seattle misses the opportunity to lead the way toward the meaningful reduction of litter through increased statewide recycling efforts,” said Daniels, who is also chairman of the Progressive Bag Affiliates unit of the American Chemistry Council.

That PBA unit will become part of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. on Jan. 1 and will be renamed the American Progressive Bag Alliance.

“A statewide solution that includes recycling is more comprehensive [because it would encompass] not just a single product but all plastic bags, wraps and films,” Daniels said. “Increased plastics recycling provides a more effective solution for consumers and the environment. It also supports an American industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs.”

Hilex Poly operates a plastic recycling plant in North Vernon, Ind., that the company said will recycle 25 million pounds of plastic bags and plastic film in 2011.

Seattle is the 23rd largest city in the U.S. with an estimated population of 610,000. The largest city that has passed a plastic bag ban is San Jose, which is the 10th largest city in the U.S. with an estimated population of 950,000. That ban goes into effect Jan. 1

San Francisco, the nation’s 13th largest city with a population of 805,000, is the second-largest city with a plastic bag ban. That ban has been in effect since 2007. Altogether 35 communities in the U.S. have plastic bag bans and three more have placed fees on plastic bags handed out at carryout.

Three other cities in the state of Washington have a ban on plastic bags: Edmonds, Bellingham and Mukilteo.

At least four other cities in the state of Washington and more than two dozen communities nationwide—including Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and Eugene, Ore.—are considering measures to ban plastic bags.

The Seattle ordinance applies to all retailers and also requires them to charge at least five cents for paper bags handed out at retail. There is an exemption from the ban for bags passed out at farmers markets, food banks and for take-out or take-home food from restaurants. Plastic bags used for produce, bulk foods, bulk candies, meat or fish, greeting cards and prescription drugs are exempt from the ban, along with dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags and door-hanger bags.

The Seattle plastic bag ban also applies to biodegradable and compostable single-use plastic bags.

The Seattle Public Utilities has estimated that only 13 percent of the nearly 300 million plastic carryout bags used annually in the city are recycled, but that more than 80 percent of paper bags are recycled.

The measure was supported by five environmental groups, the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association.


Comments

Seattle passes ban on single-use plastic carryout bags

Published: December 20, 2011 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Chicago City Council committee approves plastic bag ban

April 24, 2014 7:11 pm ET

Chicago is poised to become the next major U.S. city to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags after a City Council committee vote on April 24.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Simpsons go Lego, Pharrell Williams gets into recycled plastic

April 24, 2014 8:45 am ET

Lego has teamed up with "The Simpsons" for a special episode, we see the trends at the International Home + Housewares Show and musician Pharrell...    More

Bemis Co. reports flat quarterly sales and profit

April 24, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Bemis Co. Inc. feels no pressure to fill its vacant chief financial officer’s position, a slot that has now been vacant for months.    More

Interactive map aids polypropylene recycling efforts

April 24, 2014 1:34 pm ET

Folks interested in recycling polypropylene products now have a new tool at their disposal.    More

Biopolymer firms report success with PHA pilot production

April 24, 2014 1:30 pm ET

Biopolymer developer Meridian Inc. and Tate & Lyle plc have reported successful pilot production of Meridian's process to make polyhydroxyalkanoate, a...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events