My family and I have been recycling and anti- litter for many years. We recycle all plastic bags including that in our film plastic recycle. In short, we really care about the environment.
A plastic shopping bag ban for Mercer Island would provide 0 benefit but would impose a major nuisance to our citizens.
The total of all plastic merchandise bags represents significantly less than of 1 percent of the waste stream. It also represents less than 2% of litter. A ban on "single use" plastic grocery bags would affect a very small percent of that already small percent. Such a ban would be at best be insignificant.
Please consider the following;
First, please note, that the bags which you are proposing to ban are not single use. Once the product has been transported to the home the bags are reused in a variety of ways.
The most obvious second use is for pet waste. If these shopping bags are not available to the pet owner they will simply buy bags elsewhere to no net effect on the enviroment. Further more the city, presumably, would continue to offer plastic bags for pet waste in the parks and trash receptacle liners. If the stores stop offering them the city will no doubt be called upon to provide more.
Meat products and fruit and vegetables would continue to be put in plastic bags.
Film plastics, which include plastic grocery bags, are 100% recyclable curbside with Allied Waste and at drop off points.
Garbage collection costs could well increase as a result. All plastic is not only recycleable it is resold by our waste collection company along with other recycleables at a profit of over $10 billion per year. There are an increasing number of companies that are converting used plastics into energy. They are not only making deisel oil from plastic but are directly producing clean electrical energy. This has been proven to be not only cost effective but non polluting.
Use of multiuse cloth bags have been linked to food contamination. If the cloth bags are washed with every use, as recommended by many health organizations there would be a net loss to the environment. The use of fresh water and the discharge of detergents into the environment is much more destructive and harder to control than a plastic bag.
The alternative use of paper bags is not friendly to our precious forests.
The bottom line, a ban on plastic grocery bags will have no net effect on protecting the environment or reducing pollution. Quality of life on Mercer Island, however, will be negatively impacted with higher costs for residents, impose huge inconveniences and present the potential for greater polution.
We urge a NO VOTE on this issue.(Signed: Baron Dickey)