Small stores get a break from new Seattle bag banon June 29, 2012 @ 2:24 pm (Updated: 11:49 am - 6/30/12 )
Seattle Public Utilities representative Dick Lilly says the city didn't want to cause a financial hardship for small businesses who would have to throw away plastic bags they had already purchased.
"Some of them have bought significant supplies, so we have some enforcement discretion. We will probably allow them to continue to use them for awhile," says Lilly.
Lilly says that the exception won't last long, and that most stores in the area are ready to eliminate the disposable plastic bags.
"They will have to have brought either a reusable bag, or pay five cents for a large paper bag," says Lilly.
The city has tried to ease the transition by giving away reusable grocery bags. All sixteen Safeway stores, as well as Hing Dong Market in the International District, Kress IDA, and Aurora Grocery Outlets have partnered with Public Utilities to give away the bags to shoppers.
"Some of the stores will be giving away free reusable bags to help out their customers. Notably, we partnered with Safeway, which will be giving 1,000 free bags to its first customers and 1,000 more bags that we have matched them with," says Lilly.
The law was unanimously approved in December of 2011 by the Seattle City Council. The ban includes thin, single- use plastic bags advertised as compostable, biodegradable, and photodegradable and requires that any paper bags given out be at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled fiber.
The new ordinance is similar to those previously approved in Bellingham and Edmonds. Bainbridge Island and Mukilteo will enforce plastic bag bans in the coming year.
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