You’ve got even more motivation to remember your own shopping bags now: Plastic bags will soon be banned, and paper ones will start to cost you, beginning Sunday July 1.
Why ban single-use plastic bags? Seattle Public Utilities has your answer (from this Bag Ban for Shoppers FAQ):
Lightweight plastic carryout bags are commonly found in litter and escape into our waterways where they remain as a pollutant forever. Fish and other marine animals commonly mistake pieces of plastic and bags for food. When plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces, those microscopic particles may also be consumed by small animals in the oceans and enter the food chain. Because of plastic’s persistence in the environment, the City believes the use of throw-away plastic products should be minimized.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed Ordinance ordinance number 123775, banning single-use plastic bags and imposing a 5-cent fee on large paper bags, on December 19, 2011.
The fee will not be collected from customers using vouchers or electronic benefit cards from state or federal food assistance programs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or the Washington State Food Assistance Program (FAP).
A similar bill passed by the City Council in 2008 was repealed by voters in 2009. This earlier version of the bill charged a 20-cent bag fees to retailers, the proceeds of which would have gone to the city. The new 5-cent fees go instead to the retailers.
Seattle Public Utilities has a series of FAQs about the ban that should answer any question that you may have about the impending bag ban.
Just don’t forget to *WASH* your reusable bags occasionally. Nobody likes the norovirus.