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Plastic bag ban may go before Everett council

EVERETT — The city is considering a ban on plastic bag use. Proponents hope that less plastic on the streets will help keep the environment clean and animals healthy.
Everett’s City Council is studying the issue but while it has not yet seen any proposals, it could see a bag ban ordinance on the agenda as early as September.
Since they were first invented, plastic bags became the main way restaurants, grocery stores and shops helped customers carry goods to their homes. But, it is easy for wind to sweep these bags into nearby trees or bodies of water. By 2020, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that there could be more bags in the ocean than there are fish. Bags can hurt or kill almost all types of sea life.
Because of the potential risk to marine life, some businesses began to switch to sturdier, reusable bags made of heavy duty paper or cloth. The lifespan of these types of bags is far greater than the 15 minutes of use a plastic one could provide.
350 Everett, one of the groups that supports the ban, says that plastic bags are harmful.
“Single-use plastic is the major waste item in worldwide trash today. It is filling the oceans, gumming up our mechanized trash processing equipment and entirely un-necessary to support contemporary society,” said Dean Smith, the group’s president.
But one major concern some have over the issue is the price of reusable bags. These can sometimes be more expensive, and could create an extra cost for companies and consumers alike.
Many cities around the country have enacted measures similar to the proposed one. In 2011, the Mukilteo City Council voted to ban plastic bag use. Since then, the city has been cleaner and a more environmentally friendly place, said Jennifer Gregerson, the mayor of Mukilteo. It
also vastly reduced the number of bags that ended up in nearby Puget Sound, Gregerson said.
There are 20 cities in Washington state that concurrently have reusable bag ordinances and apply a fee on carry-home paper and plastic bags.
Some council members in Everett are still waiting to hear the different arguments before making up their minds.
“My answer is I’m not sure. I’m waiting on some information that I asked (from) some advocates” for the bag ordinance, said Councilman Scott Bader.
Other council members did not return a request for
comment by press time.



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