Citizens challenge Shoreline plastic bag ban

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A group of local residents and Save Our Choice have joined forces to call upon the City of Shoreline to repeal its plastic bag ban. Ordinance No. 653, which regulates the distribution of plastic and paper carryout bags by Shoreline retail establishments was adopted by the Shoreline City Council on April 29, 2013. The new regulations become effective on February 1, 2014.

A referendum petition is underway, which would require the City Council to either repeal the Ordinance in its entirety or put the question to the voters in the next general election.

Shoreline is not the first Washington city to resist the regulation of retail carryout bags.

“Save Our Choice was founded in December 2011 to first oppose the Seattle bag ban and bag tax,” says co-founder Craig Keller, who is also circulating an initiative petition in Issaquah. “We are a band of volunteer citizens dedicated to fiercely defending consumer and merchant choice and to questioning the authority of utopians.”

Shoreline residents agree. Tom Jamieson, a Shoreline resident and co-organizer of the petitions said, “The City has not made a compelling case. This ordinance unjustifiably restrains trade, punishes customers, provides no provable benefit to the environment, and includes no method for measuring reductions in waste or litter. Moreover, reusable bags have not been shown to be in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Shoreline.”

Ginny Scantlebury, speaking on behalf of the Shoreline Caucus, supports a repeal of the bag ban. 

“This ordinance goes against three core values that the Caucus believes in strongly: limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. We don’t think that the Shoreline City Council should be involved in whether there should be plastic bags or not. They should not dictate what kind of bags the stores can offer, and they have more important issues to deal with.”

According to the Shoreline Municipal Code, a Referendum Petition must be submitted to the City within 30 days of the passage date of the ordinance. The Shoreline City Clerk has communicated a deadline of May 29 at 5:00PM for this referendum petition.

The Shoreline Referendum Petition is available for download. For more information or to volunteer, contact Tom Jamieson, 206-300-7606 or Ginny Scantlebury

Contributions (check, no cash) may be mailed to Save Our Choice, PO Box 16716, Seattle, WA 98116.


Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 8:28 AM  

This is just sad on so many levels. Somehow in America, we've come to believe that a plastic bag is somehow our right. Lazy American consumers cannot be burdened in even the slightest way, like circling the parking lot so you can be 20 feet closer to the front door. The fact is that petroleum-based plastic bags are simply bad for the environment on the front and back end, and they continue to provide billions in revenue to the biggest corporate leaches in the world, the oil companies. Sure, some studies show that SOME types of reusable bags produce more CO2 in production than plastic bags. But the vast majority in use today did not and will not end up in a landfill anytime soon. My family has some bags that we've had for 6-7 years, and are still good as new. And we never get sick. The entire health concern is a joke. There's more bacteria on the door handles and bus seats and office kitchen counter than in your grocery bag.

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM  

Let me change my oil and pour oil into the drain too. Stop taking my rights to pollute the landfills!

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM  

The unintended consequences... these recycled plastic bags are used in industry to produce synthetic wood for Trex decking. Trex weighs 50 to 70% more than its wood counterpart (that's a lot of recycled plastic bags). The same amount of raw material will have to be produced to manufacture this decking no matter what regulation Shoreline places upon its citizens. Of course, Trex decking will increase in cost because these recycled bags will be unavailable, so people will go back to using harvested cedar for decking. Wait - that's not very green. Now we will have to increase the chemical additives in to the environment to create recycled paper bags! Which, by the way, will include a 5 cent tax per unit each time we visit our local Shoreline grocery stores. But, what the heck, Antonio Gramsci would have been very proud of Shoreline!

Bilbo Baggins May 8, 2013 at 9:56 AM  

Well, ya see, "Anonymous," that's YOUR CHOICE! It's great you can make it, instead of having it forced down your throat by green-washing eco-zealots.

I'll never forget the moment on the Dave Ross Show when since-deposed ex Seattle mayor Greg Nickels was struck speechless as Ross informed him, "Well, you DO know these reusable bags are made of plastic, right? Non-woven polypropylene. Says it right here on the tag of the free bags you're giving away."

Yup, plastic. And made in China, that bastion of eco-consciousness. And contaminated with lead, as reported by KING 5 in January 2011:

"The Washington, D.C-based Center for Consumer Freedom tested bags at 44 major retailers. Of those, it says 16 were selling bags containing lead in excess of safety standards. The tests found lead only in the Chinese-made nonwoven polypropylene bags."

"The non-profit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found that about 10 percent of the reusable bags it tested last year contained at least minute levels of lead, with Disney’s “Toy Story” and “Cars” plastic reusable shopping bags topping the charts with excessive levels to the tune of 15 times the federal limit for lead in children’s products.

"Tests by other groups confirm CEH’s findings. A November 2010 report by the Tampa Tribune newspaper found elevated levels of lead in reusable bags purchased at Winn-Dixie, Publix, Walmart and Target stores..."

"The color green can never be green, because of the way it is made. It’s impossible to dye plastic green or to print green ink on paper without contaminating them. This means that green-colored plastic and paper cannot be recycled or composted safely, because they could contaminate everything else."

The real reason the vast majority of reusable bags in use today will not end up in a landfill anytime soon is because they're stacking up in our closets. Or you the trunk of the car you drive to the store.

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM  

So, when I purchase groceries in Seattle, I bring my canvas bag to put all my items into. I guess I'm saving the environment, right? Then the clerk prints out a paper receipt that is a foot long; how many trees did that take to produce?

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 11:52 AM  

Government does not need to deal with this. If a business chooses not offer them and/or if a consumer chooses not to accept them...then they have that right. They also have that right not to shop in that store, or in Shoreline for that matter.

Protect us, provide infrastructure and manage the city...don't manage the people or the businesses.

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 12:09 PM  

"Government does not need to deal with this."

Sometimes, we need to be protected from ourselves. Mindless, insatiable American consumers and the parasitic corporations we continuously protect CANNOT be depended upon to make some decisions that have implications for everyone. The market doesn't always decide what's best. Ever heard of the Clean Air or Clean Water acts? or catalytic converters? You think those changes came about because the market demanded them? No, it was actual political will (largely Republican at the time) that bucked industry and put necessary regulation in place. Sadly, that no longer exists in today's tea bagger, blame the gubmint climate.

The Hart Family May 8, 2013 at 12:15 PM  

Shoreline... please PLEASE don't follow suit of Seattle. Is this reeeeeeaaaaly the role model of government wisdom and efficiency. I chose to live here for a reason!

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 1:47 PM  

The real insult is in areas where the ban exists I'm now charged for a bag where it was once factored into the cost of doing business.

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM  

Pretty funny that a Seattle PO box is listed. You right-thinkers couldn't find a post office in your own home town?

Anonymous,  May 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM  

For you limited government types:
1. Disposable plastic products waste valuable petroleum, thereby weakening our future national security, just like not having guns for children.
2. Importing /paying for junk products is anti-deficit reduction and anti austerity, (which is working so well in Europe).
3. Don't demand that the government give you "stuff" like bags or decent health care - get your own bags and wash them yourself like rugged individuals.

Anonymous,  May 9, 2013 at 5:19 AM  

Ban on plastic bags are tied to an increase in shoplifting of 20%, this loss results in an increase in prices charged to the consumer:

Anonymous,  May 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM  

I can see both sides of the plastic bag dispute. The issue I have with this ordinance is the imposed 5 cent tax/surcharge on paper bags. If a store wants to charge for a bag then let them. If they don't want to charge I don't believe the government has a right to force them to. I believe that is how capitalism is supposed to work. Let the consumer decide.

Anonymous,  June 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM  

I am against the plastic bag ban for the following reasons: 1. I don't need another tax. 2. Shoppers almost never wash their filthy recycled bags and place them on the same conveyor belt at the store with my groceries. Read this article: Unintended consequences, when these green ideas get voted in......

custom carrier bags July 9, 2013 at 9:49 PM  

A referendum petition is underway, which would require the City Council to either repeal the Ordinance in its entirety or put the question to the voters in the next general election.

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