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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

So How's That Plastic Bag Ban Working Out for You?

Posted by on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Old habits have yet to be broken at MacPhersons Produce on Beacon Hill, which stocked up on plastic bags ahead of Seattles bag ban ordinance.
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • Old habits have yet to be broken at MacPherson's Produce on Beacon Hill, which stocked up on plastic bags ahead of Seattle's bag ban ordinance.

I have to admit to doing a little plastic bag hoarding during the months leading up to implementation of Seattle's bag ban ordinance. I've long made use of these bags for secondary purposes, and I figured I might as well stock up while they were still available. Turns out, my fears were unfounded.

Two of the stores I frequent most, the Southeast Seattle Viet Wah and MacPherson's Produce on Beacon Hill, are still handing out plastic bags. According to the Public Utilities website there's an exemption for merchants to use the bags they already had on hand as of January 19, 2012, and both obviously stocked up. I had no idea.

So while I try to be conscientious about bringing reusable bags, when I don't, it makes no difference. I'm still collecting plastic bags faster than I can reuse them.

 

Comments (40) RSS

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biffp 1
I never see them, and I never buy them. Seems to be working out great. Any chance of a resolution in Seattle to stop second guessing legislative decisions based on anecdotal evidence?
Posted by biffp on February 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
care bear 2
I have a closet full of plastic bags. You can have 'em.
Posted by care bear on February 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Callie 3
I'll take some off your hands. I moved apartments back in March and got rid of a whole bunch of them, thinking that I could always restock. Now I'm pretty much out.
Posted by Callie http://www.facebook.com/Klosetnerd on February 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
I still have a few years of plastic bags stored up, to use in my increasingly small garbage output.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 5, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
5
@4, your garbage output is immense.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 5, 2013 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 6
Lam's Seafood Market insisted that I use a plastic bag for the two apples I bought. I told them I didn't want one, but they said it's their policy and I must take one. I figured I could use it for a secondary purpose anyway and accepted it, but on reflection I wish I would have fought it. What could they do, take my apples back?
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 5, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
@ 1, anecdotal evidence? Like that for Walmart's spreading of the Newtown-was-fake conspiracy theory?
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 8
@6.. lam's.. yeah..they're worse than viet wah because they still want to put stuff in bags and then put the bags in other bags. even packaged goods, they want to double bag them too, but you don't have to take the bags. we don't and it's a major discussion every time. but they have these stickers that say 'PAID'. tell them to put the stickers ON the apples. they'll tell you 'blah blah blah' but then they'll do it.
don't back down.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on February 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Hernandez 9
@5 Well played.
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on February 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM · Report this
10
viet wah on jackson hands em out too. the kind without the two holes in the bottom. good price on produce and meat too.
Posted by carsten coolage on February 5, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
11
slow news day.
Posted by hmmmmm on February 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
12
Working exactly as expected for me...I drive a bit more than I used to because I don't like dealing with paper bags when walking or busing.
Posted by ryanmm on February 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
13
I hate the stupid ban that I liken to something they would do in North Korea. It unfairly hits the poor and those who do not have a car in the pocket book. It overrode a popular vote and to me is a radical right wing environmental hijacking of out system of government.

Won't be voting for those who supported this on the council.
Posted by eric1972sea on February 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM · Report this
CodyBolt 14
It's turned me in to a bag hording little ol' lady at least 20 years to soon. Ever plastic bag I find I keep and reuse until it falls to pieces.
Posted by CodyBolt on February 5, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 15
@13 The council is running unopposed. Welcome to North Korea?
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 13, how are the carless affected by lthe bag ban? Or are the numbers in your screen name a clue that you're a shill?
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
More, I Say! 17
I hate to admit it, but I've been getting regular bag deliveries from my bag-hoarding mother in Bellevue. I need something to bag up cat shits, you guys.
Posted by More, I Say! on February 5, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 18
@16 raises a good point.

I find that small grocery runs work fine without worrying about bags, or detritus like @5 lying on the sidewalk, but that sometimes one forgets enough bags when you have a lot of groceries. Not a problem at Costco, since they provide boxes which recycle, but a problem at places like Fred Meyer or when there is a sale.

North Korea City Council ftw.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM · Report this
19
@17: Buy dog poop bags and use those.
Posted by tiktok on February 5, 2013 at 4:26 PM · Report this
Fnarf 20
@5 = comment of the decade.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 5, 2013 at 4:26 PM · Report this
Kinison 21
I dont buy milk anymore, it doesnt fit in paper bags very well and I cant carry two bags and a gallon of milk 6 blocks. If it doesnt fit in two paper bags, I just dont buy it anymore. I dont own a car, and carrying cloth bags with me at all times really isnt an option for me, in fact its fucking stupid to expect people who dont own cars to carry cloth bags with them at any given moment.

Also, baggers at grocery stores are now trying to pack everything into bags and you get idiots who lay down frozen meat patties onto a loaf of bread, crushing the bread.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on February 5, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
22
I'm a retail manager. The week the bag ban went into effect, our corporate office (in Nashville) called the store and had us transfer our entire plastic bag horde to locations outside of city limits. They also sent us a grand total of 5 reusable bags to sell to customers.

No one seems particularly bothered by it. Customers are all used to it, and there's a lot fewer empty bags blowing around the parking lot.

However, one of our managers is a commuter who drives in from Monroe, and he's still freaking out about it. On truck day he hordes empty boxes to give to customers, which customers never want, and I usually end up sneaking them all out to the recycling bin after I've tripped over the mountain a dozen times. The once or twice a day a customer /asks/ for a bag, he goes into a tirade about how the City of Seattle is a bunch of nazis and the bag ban is stupid, while the customer is all like "no, it's fine, I can carry it".
Posted by Lack Thereof on February 5, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
orino 23
Ireland was always held up as an example of how the plastic bag ban "worked." They started out charging 15 (euro)cents for each bag, but people just paid it, so they kept jacking up the price until it hit 33 cents. Then they prohibited stores from handing out plastic bags. However, at pretty much any grocery store you can buy packages of plastic grocery bags!

I've seen some pretty disgusting reusable bags waiting in line at the grocery store. I just spend a nickel for a paper one, and toss it in the mixed paper recycle bin...
Posted by orino http://www.scootinoldskool.com on February 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Report this
snacktruck 24
goldy, as a fellow southender can i just say 1. McPherson's really sucks in the last year and half or so. The produce has just reached new lows, the kids that work there are cold and they used to have someone selling tamales in the parking lot...er, no more. 2. bring your own bag there and Lam's. Both places allow it and yeah, they have a million but let others use them for dog shit, moving or whatever. All of them will not disappear but we are making progress.
Posted by snacktruck on February 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 25
@ 21, all your problems are manufactured by yourself. If you're too addled to plan trips to the grocery store, you're simply never to be respected.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Jessica 26
@24 have you looked across 15th at the old espresso spot that's now a Mexican grocery? The cart's out front. And I still drive to MacPherson's from Ballard weekly, so it's not that bad. The toddler loves to visit, the bananas are always cheap ($.59/lb organic Chiquitas yesterday), and the staff is friendly. I'm not expecting them to blow me, I'm expecting cheap produce from a locally-owned business.
Posted by Jessica on February 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM · Report this
McGee 27
Milk fits in a paper bag. 21 is making up specious shit to make a false point.
Posted by McGee on February 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM · Report this
DOUG. 28
Shut down SLOG. @5 will never be topped.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on February 5, 2013 at 7:30 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 29
Have you bag toting geniuses heard of a crazy new invention called a backpack?

I have been taking mine to Lams for years.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM · Report this
dlauri 30
If you like plastic bags, why not just buy some? On Amazon you can get 1,000 bags for $25 ($0.025/bag): http://www.amazon.com/T-Shirt-Carry-Out-…

That's like a lifetime supply, isn't it?
Posted by dlauri http://www.davidlauri.com on February 5, 2013 at 8:38 PM · Report this
31
@29 That's what I've been using forever. I suspect people still feel silly wearing a backpack around the city. It'll change if it has to.
Posted by floater on February 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM · Report this
32
North Koreans wish their problems were as lame as not having plastic bags for all those fucking groceries we fill our fat faces with.

Get a grip!
Posted by madcap on February 5, 2013 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 33
@29 I had my messenger bag with me, which was where I was trying to put the apples. Again, I didn't put up nearly enough resistance to their bag pushing.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 5, 2013 at 11:54 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 34
@33
You have to give them a stern "No Bag!", or just hand them yours.

On a darker note I am also wondering how the ban on plastic bags relates to suicide. Seems like it might reduce the suicide rate, at least by suffocation/asphyxiation.

A few weeks ago I pulled a bag off a guys head what was trying to suffocate himself in the bushes outside the ER. Well long story short PD showed up and we ended up admitting him. The question on everyone's mind was, "Where did he get a plastic bag in Seattle?"
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on February 6, 2013 at 12:07 AM · Report this
35
Banning plastic bags only made me switch to paper. Ya, that makes sense environmentally? This issue is pure idealism and little more. Well written article: http://goo.gl/khxv
Posted by Paper Bags..Ya Because They Come From Trees on February 6, 2013 at 1:38 AM · Report this
36
#firstworldproblems
Posted by Cynickal on February 6, 2013 at 6:00 AM · Report this
watchout5 37
You can get plastic bags from take out places, that's more than enough for me.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on February 6, 2013 at 6:18 AM · Report this
biffp 38
@16, nope, that's called a logical assumption. I'm not surprised you are unfamiliar with the concept - being fixated with details that no one gives two shits about like whether the NHL players were locked out or on strike.
Posted by biffp on February 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this
39
Works fine for me because it's so funny. It's well documented that plastic bags are better for the environment, safer, and more sanitary than anything else, but Seattle isn't into science so they banned 'em. Now I have a bunch of cotton bags. I'll have to use each one of them 180 times before its contribution to global warming is the same as if I'd been using plastic.

Of course, they don't last 180 uses unless you don't wash them. Which some people don't. Just ask your friendly neighborhood checker about the gross cloth bags they're seeing. Of course, you could always pay a nickel per paper bag. Good luck in the rain, and try not to think about how each paper bag causes 15 times as much water pollution as a plastic bag.

Seattle's a great town. Always fun to watch these people who actually think they're all smart and scientific and all.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
40
Yeah, #36, I agree that it'd be so much better if we had to worry about cholera.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on February 8, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this

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