On January 15, 2020, the Washington State Senate passed a bill banning single-use plastic bags and imposing an eight-cent fee on reusable plastic bags. KEPR reports that people receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), the state FAP (Food Assistance Program), or who use SNAP (State Nutrition Assistance Program) will be exempt from the eight-cent fee for reusable bags.
The bill, SB 5323 is aimed at reducing pollution from plastic bags across the state. Now it must go to the House for further review and consideration.
This year’s bill, which passed the Senate with a vote of 30-19, is identical to the measure that passed in 2019 with a vote of 26-23 but stalled in the House. Proponents of the plastic ban in Washington hope that with wider support in the Senate and public support for the ban approaching 69 percent, the bill will have greater chances of passage in the 2020 House.
33 jurisdictions throughout Washington state have already adopted plastic bag bans of their own. The Senators moving this initiative forward, once again, believe the need for this legislation goes beyond the simple unsightly nature of plastic bag pollution. They believe it is their duties, as legislators to protect the planet and this is how they can do just that.
Why are Plastic Bags Such a Large Problem?
There are many reasons to be concerned about plastic bags and the impact they have on the planet — especially as Global Citizen reports that more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic been produced since the 1950s and only nine percent of it has been recycled. To put this into perspective, that tonnage is equivalent to more than 800,000 Eiffel Towers.
Because Washingtonians love their beaches, it is also important to note that nearly 73 percent of all beach litter is plastic as well. This includes a wide variety of plastics, including:
- Plastic bags
- Plastic straws
- Plastic drinking bottles
- Food packaging and wrappers
- Discarded plastic bottle caps
Top that off with National Geographic reporting that some 8 million tons of plastic each year, including plastic bags find themselves into our waterways. There’s a lot to respect about decisions to reduce plastic waste by eliminating plastic bags from the equation.
The Center for Biological Diversity has a list of fast facts about plastic bags, specifically to consider. These facts explain the harm plastic bags themselves do to the planet and all the creatures that call this planet home. These are a few of the highlights.
- Americans use approximately 100 billion plastic bags, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to produce, per year.
- 100,000 marine animals are killed each year by plastic bags.
- The average American household takes home nearly 1,500 plastic bags yearly but only one percent of those bags are recycled.
- It takes 500 years or more for plastic bags in landfills to degrade. Even then, they continue to pollute the environment as microplastics.
As you can see, the problem with plastic bags is much more than a temporary problem. Washington Senators believe that immediate action must be taken to protect the planet, the people, and its creatures from the harm brought about by plastic pollution. Banning plastic bags is an important place to begin these efforts.
What Can You Do to Help This Law Pass in the House?
Since this bill has already stalled once in the House, it’s important for Washingtonians who believe in this bill and what it represents to act now to ensure it doesn’t stall again. That means getting on the phone and calling your representative in the House. It means writing letters, signing petitions, and even organizing in your local community to show your representative the sheer numbers who support initiatives like this geared toward protecting the planet.
There are other things you can do. Stop waiting on laws to pass to go green. There’s no reason you can’t begin using your own reusable bags without laws being passed to require it. Choosing to do this puts you ahead of the game. Plus, when laws do eventually pass, you will already be in the habit of using them wisely. This includes:
- Bringing reusable bags along with you when shopping.
- Keeping reusable bags in your car.
- Storing reusable bags in strategic locations so that you have access to them when you need them.
- Washing reusable bags periodically to keep them clean and fresh.
- Reducing your carbon footprint, protecting the planet, and keeping our beautiful oceans clean.
- Offering resuable bags to your current and prospective clients and customers.
- Offering resuable bags to your employees
- Using resuable bags in your fundraising, promotional and brand recognition efforts.
Most people, no matter how they feel about the alarming state of our climate, can agree on the ugliness of plastic bag litter and pollution on our beaches and in our waterways. No one likes to watch videos of marine animals that have been injured or killed by plastic pollution that includes plastic bags. As an individual and as a business owner, you have the power to encourage change in the form of new laws, education, and simple habits, like shopping.
Get Started With ReuseThisBag.com
The more people who make the choice to use reusable reusable merchandise shopping bags, custom grocery shopping bags, or custom wine and beer totes, the fewer of these bags will find their way into landfills, oceans, rivers, streams, beaches, and more. What better way to spread the word about your business and encourage your community to choose reusable bags instead, than by giving them to your customers at meet and greets, trade shows, and more.
At ReuiseThisBag.com we believe sustainability begins at home and in your own business. Make the move today to using reusable bags emblazoned with your logo while shopping. Not only does it spread the word about your business to others you’re shopping around, but when you give these to your patrons and customers, they become your advertisers too!
Ready to take your marketing efforts in a more sustainable direction? Do you want to get ahead of the new single-use plastic bag ban? Call us today at 877-334-5323 to discuss your options with one of our helpful and talented account representatives for your purchase of bulk reusable bags. We can help you upgrade your game at trade shows, local events in the community, and anywhere you give out customer gifts. All you need to do is call us to learn about the options available to you.