Banning single-use plastic bags is good for the environment

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A trip to the grocery store will be a little different and slightly more expensive for residents of Grays Harbor County, in large part because of a new law that came into effect on October 1 that bans single-use plastic bags.

The Washington Legislature approved the statewide ban in its 2020 session, but implementation of the law has been delayed due to supply chain issues related to the pandemic of COVID-19.

This gave people who wanted plenty of time to load single-use plastic bags which can be quite handy to have around the house. They serve as wonderful trash cans for small brown bags and come in handy when it comes to cleaning up after a holiday meal.

But the big problem with the bags is that they are a threat to the environment. There’s no question about it and that’s why we think the ban is a good idea, although the bags will probably be missed when they eventually roll out of our lives.

This could take a while since the Washington State Department of Ecology estimates Washingtonians use 2 billion single-use plastic bags every year, and there are bound to be millions of bags crammed into closets. or stored in drawers and other places.

“Plastic bags are a major contaminant in recycling facilities, waterways, roads and the environment in Washington,” according to the Department of Ecology.

“Washington’s plastic bag ban will reduce pollution by banning single-use plastic bags and charging fees for bags acceptable in commercial establishments starting October 1, 2021.”

Single-use plastic bags will be replaced with stronger, thicker reusable plastic bags at checkout. These bags, by state law, must be made of at least 20% post-consumer recycled content made from plastic film at least 2.25 millimeters thick and will cost the consumer 8 cents per pop.

“Companies collect and keep all of the 8 cents to recover part of the cost of supplying the bags and to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags,” according to the Ministry of Ecology. “The charge should be shown as a taxable sale on the receipt provided to the customer. “

The new and improved bags can also be cleaned, although we would suggest soap, water, and a sponge rather than a spin in the family washing machine, which would certainly spoil the job.

While the ban is aimed squarely at grocery stores in the hope of getting consumers to use their own bags (a great idea until the customer forgets), it also applies to all retail stores and Proximity.

On the positive side, some take-out bags will survive. This includes the paper bags which as we all know work so well in the Pacific Northwest when it rains. Nothing like a packet of 6 mutilated Pabst Blue Ribbon lying on the sidewalk after a brown bag gives way due to excess moisture after leaving a convenience store.

Note that paper bags must be made of at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and labeled with their post-consumer recycled content.

There are also other exceptions, including newspaper bags. We appreciate the nod because it helps keep The everyday world to get all sloppy and soggy in bad weather.

When it comes to law enforcement, crooks face a fine of $ 250 for “repeated and continued non-compliance.” With this, we hope that consumers will adopt the ban on plastic bags and recycle them as much as possible. For more information on the bag ban, please visit ecology.wa.gov.


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