Come July, plastic bags will likely become a thing of the past in Seattle.
Yesterday, the city council passed a measure banning the bags. And not just in grocery stores, as some cities have done. Seattle's ban extends to department stores, convenience stores, home improvement stores and more.
Council said stores could offer paper bags instead, but only if the customer pays a five-cent fee for each bag. (The measure exempts customers on food assistance.)
If the major signs the measure, it would go into effect in July.
Seattle will likely be a case study for years to come. The city initially imposed a 20-cent fee on plastic bags. That was in 2008. But the plastic bag industry fought vigorously, spending $1.4 million on its campaign, according to an article in the online newspaper, seattlepi.com. In 2009, the measure was repealed via a voter referendum.
So now the all-out ban.
The industry says Seattle has missed "the opportunity to lead the way toward the meaningful reduction of litter through increased statewide recycling efforts." Recycling being the avenue of choice for the industry.
Recycling took hold here in Philadelphia after similar efforts to ban or tax the bags failed. But now, councilman James Kenney said he may take another stab at the issue next year.
Seattle residents use about 292 million plastic bags a year, according to seattlepi.
Councilman Mike O'Brien, the main sponsor of the measure, said that the goal was to get more people to opt for reusable bags.