Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot Off The Press...Still!

Time doesn't stand still when working diligently to pass a city ordinance to promote the use of reusable bags, which was the case on Monday evening! Below is our press release that went out later that evening to over 100 news publications across the state, in hopes to inspire other cities to do the same. It's now Friday and it seems like old news yet, since then, articles have been generated and the news is spreading!

Here are links to a few:
Bellingham Herald, Seattle Times, Crosscut and Puget Sound Business Journal.

Most importantly at this time, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped with this effort to get this ordinance passed, and to our City Council members who appreciated the last 4 months of public process and engagement to get the community and local businesses, including major local retailers Haggen and The Markets publicly behind this measure.

PRESS RELEASE from Bag It Bellingham:

City of Bellingham Passes Bag Reduction Ordinance
Strongest Bag Reduction Ordinance in Washington State

BELLINGHAM. Today the Bellingham City Council passed an ordinance to reduce single-use carryout bags at all retail establishments. The ordinance passed 7-0.

Bag It Bellingham, a local effort to reduce single-use bags, worked with City Councilmember Seth Fleetwood, neighborhood associations, and local retailers to create a win-win ordinance. This ordinance is the first in Washington State to prohibit single-use plastic carryout bags and require a minimum 5 cents charge for recycled paper take-out bags. Retailers will be allowed to keep the entire fee. While there are some exceptions, single-use plastic carryout bags cannot be offered by retailers starting in July 2012 - one year after the ordinance was enacted.

Two of the major grocers in Bellingham, Haggen and The Markets, endorsed the ordinance. “In keeping with our longstanding commitment to the environment, Haggen has always supported a reduction or ban on single-use plastic bags,” said Glen Foresman, vice president of retail support for Haggen, Inc. “We were the first to introduce reusable bags in our marketing area.”

"The Markets actively promote reusable bags and offer rebates for customers who shop with them. Sustainability is a key value for us so we're pleased to support this ordinance," said Sue Cole, Public Affairs Director of The Markets. "Thanks to Bag It Bellingham and Council Member Seth Fleetwood for their leadership on this issue."

“Bag It Bellingham did a tremendous amount of outreach in the community to show support,” said Seth Fleetwood. “I am thrilled that Bellingham continues to be a recognized leader of sustainability.”

Bag It Bellingham will work with the city and retailers to help educate the public in the next year so that when the bag reduction ordinance takes effect in July 2012, the transition will be smooth.

“From all of our work with the residents of Bellingham, we are inspired by the willingness of everyone to embrace this step,” said Brooks Anderson of Bag It Bellingham. “Retailers and the city will reduce their costs. It seems a win-win for the stores, environment and the city.”

Jill MacIntyre Witt, of Bag It Bellingham continued, “It is nice to know that Bellingham is doing their proportionate share towards being part of the solution. We are helping spread the message to the rest of Washington and hope this encourages other cities and the state to pass similar legislation.”

The Mount Baker Group of the Sierra Club, People For Puget Sound, Environment Washington, Surfrider Foundation and RE Sources supported the measure and these environmental groups will help to bring similar legislation forward in other jurisdictions in the state.

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic! One of my biggest environment frustrations is excessive and unnecessary packaging. I hope this is a first in many steps towards reducing and ultimately eliminating it altogether.