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Issaquah City Council votes to approve plastic bag ban

The days of plastic bags are numbered in Issaquah.

In a 5-2 vote on Monday, the City Council decided to ban plastic shopping bags and impose a 5 cent fee on paper, beginning in March 2013.

The law is similar to Seattle’s, with a few exceptions; primarily, it allows organizations, such as Salmon Days, to apply for exemptions.

“This is not Seattle’s bill. This is not anyone else’s bill. This is Issaquah’s bill,” said Issaquah Council President Tola Marts.

Championed by Councilmember Mark Mullet, the bill was first introduced in January. He believed similar bans proved this one would work.

Future generations will have to deal with the plastic bag waste we create today, he said, and politicians need to speak for them. The same goes for marine wildlife because they can’t speak for themselves.

Dissenters to the bill weren’t convinced that it was the best way to approach the plastic bag problem. Councilmember Joshua Schaer hoped to impose a fee on the bags instead, and counterpart Eileen Barber preferred that the city continue to work on education, which would be less hurtful to small businesses.

Her influence did help give small businesses — those under 7,500 square feet — an additional year to implement the change.

The council debated the bill for a couple of months before taking the final vote. The hope was to get more local input.

Counting comments from residents, Stacy Goodman said about 60 percent of the locals that contacted her approved the ban, which she called strong local support compared to city outsiders who mostly opposed the ban.

Most of the Councilmembers agreed with the Issaquah Environmental Council, which said the law doesn’t go far enough in banning plastics.

However, most agreed with Goodman, who said “it’s a good place to start.”

 

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