Lake Forest Park suspends plastic bag ban

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Used plastic bags in recycling bin

By Tracy Furutani

The Lake Forest Park City Council approved the suspension of the city’s plastic bag and non-compostable food service container ban during Thursday’s video meeting. 

The ordinance passed 5 to 2, which means that the suspension will take effect immediately. 

The fee charged for paper bags would also be suspended.

Mayor Jeff Johnson, who sponsored the legislation under emergency authority, said he was motivated by the experience of the manager of the Albertson’s supermarket trying to juggle customers bringing reusable grocery bags and employees risking viral exposure handling those bags.

Councilmember Mark Phillips thought the suspension of the whole ban was too broad, and argued for narrowing the scope of the suspension to only the plastic bag ban. 

“Using Styrofoam…instead of a recyclable box is somehow less exposure to the virus I don’t think that’s the case, certainly not in the same way that... reusable bag use might create an exposure hazard that single-use plastic carry-out bags would not.”

Ultimately, the suspension of the entirety of the original ordinance was approved.

“This is one small gesture we can make to our local businesses,” said Deputy Mayor and Councilmember Phillippa Kassover in favor of the suspension. 
“Let’s give them a break… and then let’s get back to normal, and back to our values, and reinstate [the ban].” 
She later stated, “I hope this suspension of the single use plastics ban will be very short and will ask council to reconsider just as soon as deemed wise by our public health authorities.”


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