Plastic bag opponents embrace the holidays

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The fight against plastic bags got into the holiday spirit this week.

At a city council meeting in Seattle, Wash., advocates for a ban on plastic bags in the city dressed up in plastic bags and sang a baggie-themed carol before the council.

Couching their admonition in a re-worked version of Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the holiday “bag monsters” sang — in a harmony that would make many long for Lloyd Christmas’ “most annoying sound in the world” — that is it time for them (bags) to go.


Apparently taking the argument that plastic bags add to pollution and take up landfill space to heart, the city council unanimously voted Monday to ban retailers from providing customers with plastic bags and levied a 5-cent fee on all paper bags. The ban does not, however, extend to plastic bags for produce and meats.

According to Seattle’s KING 5 television station, city residents use 292 million plastic bags and 68 million paper bags a year. Eight-two percent of paper bags and 13 percent of plastic bags were recycled.

While there is a continuing movement to eliminate the old stand-by plastic bag via trendy totes and all-out bans — watch for more upcoming baggie ban votes in Los Angeles, Calif., Austin, Texas and Prince George’s County, Md. — there are some who question the wisdom behind the baggie shun.

At the beginning of December, New York Magazine delved into “The Inconvenient Truths of Reusable Grocery Bags,” pointing out that the reusable bags — to which people are turning as plastic bags become ever more stigmatized — breed bacteria such as E. coli and could soon end up as part of the landfill problem.

Opponents of plastic bag bans argue that they are more efficient in terms of the energy needed to produce them and are often reused. They add that it takes over a 100 uses for a reusable bag to yield environmental benefits.

Nevertheless, the liter and landfill argument has momentum and now that caroling bag monsters have surfaced, who knows what the future of the plastic bag could be.

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