After extensive public comment and council discussion running close to midnight, the Issaquah City Council made it official on June 4 — plastic bags will be banned at all retail establishments in Issaquah.
The growing Eastside city joins Edmonds, Bellingham and Mukilteo in eventually eliminating plastic grocery bags from large and small retailers — with a few exceptions, such as bags for produce, meat, prepared and bulk food at groceries. Mercer Island City Council will discuss the issue at its June 16 planning session with an eye toward moving ahead towards a possible ban.
Numerous residents and environmental concerns, along with representatives from the Washington Restaurant Association and the Northwest Grocery Association, made their support for the ban known during public comment at the start of the Issaquah City Council meeting Monday night. On the flip side, plastics industry .
In the end, however, the council majority approved a plastic bag ban in Issaquah, on a 5-2 majority. The bill will become effective in two phases, with businesses over 7,500 square feet required to eliminate plastic bags by March 1, 2013, while smaller businesses have an extra 12 months to comply with the new city regulation.
Mercer Island City Council is considering a similar ban, raised by Mayor Bruce Bassett at a council planning session in January earlier this year. City Manager Rich Conrad noted in the current legislative session to ban them statewide and advised the council to wait for the legislative process in Olympia to run its course.
Bills were introduced in both chambers of the legislature weren't voted out of their respective committees.
City Council agreed to revisit the idea of banning plastic grocery bags on Mercer Island at the June mini-planning session and possibly ask the city to investigate how the regulation could work.