Stakeholders Group on Plastic Bag Use Forming
You're invited to join the stakeholders group that will draft language for a plastic bag reduction ordinance. Sign-up by June 10.
Thurston County Solid Waste staff has been working with the community to explore ways to reduce the estimated 90 million plastic shopping bags we use annually. This work was requested by the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), which is made up of city, citizen, and industry representatives.
Staff presented the final report, Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags, to the SWAC last September. The group approved the report and recommended that the city councils of Thurston County and the Thurston County Commissioners adopt a plastic bag ban. Many jurisdictions across the country, including seven Washington cities, have taken such action.
Solid Waste staff presented the report to all city councils and obtained their recommendations, which were provided to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners on May 1. The Board requested Solid Waste staff to form a group of stakeholders to develop language for an ordinance. The completed language will be provided to the cities and the County for possible adoption. Each jurisdiction would need to go through their individual ordinance adoption process, which includes a public hearing.
Sign up to be on Stakeholders Group
The stakeholders group will develop language to be used for a plastic bag reduction ordinance. Please sign up here, by June 10, 2013 to be added to the stakeholders list. Work sessions will be scheduled for the day of the week and time that works best for the majority of those that sign up. Staff will send the schedule, meeting location and background information to your email address. We currently anticipate 3-4 meetings, of 2 hours each, to take place from mid-June to mid-July 2013.
Recommendations by Local Governments
To see the City Councils and Thurston County Board of Commissioners recommendations, click here.
Plastic Bag Outreach Project Report
Thurston County Solid Waste completed the report, Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags, outlining the concerns about plastic shopping bags and the community work that was completed.
Plastic Shopping Bags Survey Results
The results are in! Click here to see what people have to say about plastic bags in our community.
Watch the "Bag It - Is Your Life too Plastic" Documentary
Do you know how the plastics you use affect your health and environment? It’s time to find out the steps you can take to reduce the impact. We have copies of the DVD to loan if you would like to coordinate a viewing for your church, neighborhood, or community group. Please contact Loni Hanka at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 867-2282. Thurston County Television is showing the movie on Channel 3 between March 27 and June 29 every Wednesday at 4:00 pm and Saturdays at 7:00 pm. You can also rent the movie for home use on services such as Amazon or Netflix.
Keep Up-to-Date on the Plastic Bag Project
If you would like to receive periodic emails, please sign up here.
Summary of the Thurston County Plastic Bag Project
Our first step was to let the cities know about the work we would be doing.
|Initial City Council Meetings and Work Sessions to discuss the bag outreach project:|
Thurston County Solid Waste then worked throughout the community for several months to discuss the problems that plastic shopping bags can create and to get ideas from the public on how we can reduce our use. Details of the activities are in the report titled “Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags”. The Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Committee approved the report and included the following:
|This report has made it clear that plastic bags constitute a serious environmental and health hazard. The enumeration of possible solutions, other than a complete ban on the use of bags, makes it clear that the alternatives outlined in this report are not likely to be feasible and effective. We therefore conclude that it is essential to have the same ban on plastic bags that has been adopted by other municipalities in the State of Washington, and we hereby recommend that the city councils of the cities of Thurston County and the Thurston County Commissioners also adopt a plastic bag ban.|
Solid Waste staff then presented the report to each city and requested their recommendation on how to reduce our use of plastic shopping bags.
|City Council Meetings and Work Sessions to present report and request recommendations:|
|Tumwater - work session||12/11/12||5:30 pm||Minutes||Recommend drafting a bag ban ordinance.|
|Lacey - council meeting||3/28/13||7:00 pm||Minutes||Recommend drafting a bag ban
Recommend countywide vote on plastic bag ban.
|Tenino - council meeting||3/26/13||7:30 pm||Minutes||Recommend drafting a bag ban ordinance.|
|Bucoda - council meeting||2/12/13||7:00 pm||Minutes||Recommend drafting a bag ban ordinance.|
|Olympia - council meeting||1/15/13||7:00 pm||Minutes||Recommend drafting a bag ban ordinance.|
|Rainier - work session||1/22/13||6:30 pm||Note||Recommend supplier/manufacturer of the plastic bags pay the 5 cents a bag, rather than the consumer.|
|Yelm - study session||2/27/13||5:00 pm||Minutes||Recommend countywide vote on plastic bag ban.|
What Can We Do Here?
Seven jurisdictions in Washington State have eliminated single-use check out bags:
If you have plastic bags around the house, be sure to recycle them at the WARC Recycle Center or at a plastic bag recycle bin at you neighborhood grocery store. Plastic bags CANNOT go in your curbside recycle bin.
At these locations, you can recycle plastic bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, plastic newspaper sleeves, and any other type of stretchy plastic that you can poke your finger through easily. It doesn't matter where the bags originated; they're collected by a recycling company that is unaffiliated with the store.
Thurston County Solid Waste encourages residents to use durable reusable bags to prevent waste in the first place. And wash your bags! Just like the reports a few years ago about kitchen sponges, towels and surfaces, your reusable bags can hold bacteria, virus, and need to be washed regularly. Thurston County Public Health has guidelines for safe reusable bag use.
Remembering to bring your reusable bags when you shop is like learning any new habit - you can do it with time and practice.
Tell us how you remember your reusable bags! Email ThurstonSolidWaste@co.thurston.wa.us.
Using reusable shopping bags is a great idea. You can help ensure other Thurston County residents have reusable bags by using and donating to the reusable bag collections boxes in Thurston County!
Here’s how it works: If you have extra reusable bags or you need some, the box provides a simple way to share them with other residents. Simply place your extra bags in a box or take a bag from the box to use.
Local high school art students decorate the boxes so each is unique and interesting! We now have two exchange boxes in Thurston County at: Tenino City Hall and Thurston County, building 1 on the second floor.
We are looking for other locations throughout the county to place these boxes. Help us find homes for these boxes! We need location suggestions and specific contact information for placing these boxes in convenient and high-traffic locations. If you know of a public location like a library, church, or non-profit organization that would like to host a reusable bag collection box please send us specific contact information.
For more information contact Loni Hanka at email@example.com.
Call Thurston County Public Works at (360) 867-2491 or e-mail ThurstonSolidWaste@co.thurston.wa.us.
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