Gov. Inslee Signs Plastic Bag Ban Into Law, Despite COVID Concerns
Despite a firestorm of recent opposition, especially over concerns that pathogens such as COVID-19 are more easily spread by reusable bags, Gov. Inslee signed into law the 'single use' plastic statewide bag ban on Wednesday.
Calling it "an important victory for the environment" Inslee did not comment on growing national sentiment that reusable -- especially canvas or cloth-- shopping bags are believed to help spread germs and pathogens. Studies over the last five years have shown significant increases in germs and other biological agents carried from tiny food particles left in the bags. Unless washed after each use, scientists have found these bags are like a 'petri dish' when it comes to bacteria.
Inslee also did not comment on a new round of criticism that putting emphasis on paper bags as well will actually use up more resources and create more pollution. Some GOP lawmakers from distressed timber districts voted in favor of passing the plastic bag ban because they felt increased bag production will help their areas by adding jobs to pulp mills.
Although petroleum is used to make the plastic, numerous studies have shown paper bags use four times as much energy to manufacture, and as far back as 1999 the website forestecologynetwork.com said 14 million trees were cut down to make the estimated 10 billion paper bags made that year. Even some environmental groups favor plastic over paper, especially if the plastic ones are recycled.
It's ironic that the reason the plastic bag was invented was because of environmental concerns over using too many resources to make paper bags. Fast forward 30 years, and now they're switching their story.
That $.08 per store bag fee that begins in 2021 will increase to $.25 cents in 2026. Those who are on public assistance/DSHS or SNAP food programs will be exempt from paying the in store bag fee.