Edmonds bag ban proceeds unfazed

EDMONDS — When it comes to plastic bag bans, Edmonds sings its own tune.

After all, it was the first Washington city to approve a ban of plastic checkout bags from all retail stores just last month. That ban is expected to start in August 2010.

So, while Seattle voters last week rejected a fee on plastic bags, Edmonds city leaders say they aren’t persuaded to change their ban, and even opponents say they don’t plan to challenge it.

The hubbub over bag bans even has influenced a Mukilteo City Councilman to raise the issue there.

Edmonds and Seattle each approached the plastic bag issue differently. Edmonds passed a complete ban on the bags from grocery stores and other retail businesses while Seattle planned to add a 20-cent charge for every bag, plastic or paper, provided at checkout counters.

“We felt it was better to just go the route we took,” said Edmonds City Councilman Strom Peterson, who led the push to ban plastic bags. “I think we did the right thing.”

Councilman Ron Wambolt, the lone no vote on the bag ban, said he doubts what Seattle voters did will be cause political fallout in Edmonds.

“I fully support reducing the use of these plastic bags, I just don’t want government involved in it,” he said.

If the vote on the Edmonds City Council had been closer, he said, “I might come back and say ‘maybe we should reconsider this and lift our ban.’ ”

Opponents of Edmonds’ bag ban included the American Chemistry Council’s lobbying arm, the Progressive Bag Affiliates, which funded the effort to overturn Seattle’s bag fee.

Shari Jackson, the group’s director, said her organization lobbied Edmonds council members.

“We seek to offer a more positive alternative in terms of encouraging people to recycle,” she said. “Plastics can be made into other products.”

Peterson said when officials showed Jackson’s organization “all the supporting documentation, they didn’t challenge it. We think we wrote some very good legislation.”

Peterson and Wambolt said they met with representatives from the Northwest Grocer’s Association and worked out an agreement to limit the ban to check-out bags.

“We very seriously took into account food safety issues, so when it comes to produce and bulk foods and meats, we wanted to make sure food safety was the priority,” Peterson said.

Edmonds’ only independent grocer, Petosa’s Family Grocer, stopped offering plastic bags on its own last year, said owner Betty Jo Petosa.

Still, she opposed the ban.

“I was never in favor of charging anybody for a bag,” she said. “I actually reward my customers who reuse a bag or bring their own bag in with a 5-cent reward.”

She said with “at least 40 percent” of customers bringing their own bags to the store, she figures Petosa’s pretty much breaks even on its bag expenses.

Mukilteo City Councilman Tony Tinsley brought up the issue of a bag ban in his city during an Aug. 3 council meeting. He’s asked city staff to look into the issue.

“What I would favor would be a ban rather than a fee,” Tinsley said. “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about it as a tax.”

He said he doesn’t think fees are effective in changing behavior.

“The idea really isn’t to stick it to shoppers,” he said. “The idea is to reduce an environmental hazard, so I think a ban would be much more effective at doing that.”

Oscar Halpert: 425-339-3429,ohalpert@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett
Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

The “Village of Hope,” a tiny home community including 17 shelters, is set to open on Mission Hill Road in Tulalip in September. (Tulalip Tribes)
Tulalip Tribes to open tiny home village with 17 shelters

It’s called the Village of Hope. Monthly culture nights will feature classes in Lushootseed and “Tulalip cooking.”

Everett Code Enforcement issued a violation citation to the owner of the Grand Apartments building at 2331 Rockefeller Ave., after allegedly finding exposed electrical wiring and evidence of unpermitted electrical and plumbing work. (City of Everett)
Grand Apartments, which saw outcry from tenants, faces code violations

The Everett complex has had its share of issues. Now the city is threatening fines if something isn’t done.

"Shoes are like jeans," says Dominic Ahn, 53, who took over ownership from his parents, who started the store 40 years ago. Photographed in Edmonds, Washington on June 30, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
EEEEEE! Edmonds shoe shop sells wide shoes only

The store has over 600 styles of work and play shoes for men and women with feet from D to 8E widths.

Tomato is charred by Joel Childs Thursday afternoon at The Chef Behind The Curtain in Snohomish, Washington on June 30, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
This tiny Snohomish restaurant is a best-kept secret among locals

You don’t have to travel to Seattle — or drain your savings — for a fine dining experience.

Most Read