Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seattle Votes Against Plastic Bag Fee

Yesterday Seattle voters declined a proposed fee of 20 cents per plastic shopping bag, 58% to 42%.

Plastic bag manufacturers outspent ($1.4M) those advocating for the ban by 15-to-1, most of it from the American Chemical Council.

20 to 30% of Seattle's shoppers already bring their own bags to the store. But if the fee can't pass in environmentally conscious Seattle, it's hard to see it passing anywhere.

Reminder: The world uses about 5 trillion plastic bags per year, requiring about 500M barrels of oil, or 2% of world usage.


Hank Roberts said...

Don't give up.
You can figure the profit they make from selling the bags (and not collecting the waste) by what they'll spend to protect their market.


Once there's a patchwork of local regulations, either they pay their Senators and Congressmen to preempt all local laws and regs with a federal Plastic Bag Propagation and Protection statute, or they give up.

Dano said...

Politically this was dumb (I used to live there, and thus not a surprise). In a deep recession they ask for a huge tax? Dumb. 5¢ would likely have passed. 20¢? Dumb. The plastic bag industry isn't full of high-wattage folks either, and giving them this ammunition? Dumb.