Spotted this while we were in Portland.
Those ubiquitous, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at checkout counters at grocery and retail stores across Seattle starting Sunday.
The ban intended to cut down on pollution requires grocers and other retailers to stop handing out plastic bags and charge customers a nickel fee for every paper bag as a way encourage people to bring their own bags.
Stores have posted signs telling customers of the upcoming changes. The city has mailed out thousands of notices to local retailers, as well as calling and visiting them in-person. One group at the University of Washington even held an exchange to encourage people to bring their extra reusable bags, or come get one.
“I think the stores will be ready, I don’t know if the customers are ready. It’s just a matter of getting used to something new,” said Joe Gilliam, president of the Northwest Grocery Association, which represents the largest grocery chains in Seattle.
Customers who are unaware will show up wondering why they can’t get a plastic bag, he said. “There will be an adjustment.”
Plastic bags have been blamed for littering streets, fouling oceans and harming marine life. Each year Seattleites carry off about 292 million single-use plastic bags, and 68 million paper bags. About 82 percent of paper bags are recycled, while only 13 percent [of plastic bags] are recycled.
The city council unanimously approved the plastic bag ban last December, joining other cities across the country. Nearby communities such as Bainbridge Island, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Bellingham and Portland, Ore., also have banned plastic bags.