Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2 Weeks and Counting...

In 2 weeks the Bellingham Bag Reduction Ordinance goes into effect...August 1st. This was one of the questions at Boundary Bay Trivia Night just the other day...and as the trivia master said, "August 1st can't come soon enough." This has been the general sentiment across town as it has been a year since our last blog post, announcing the passed law. Our community seems more than ready. Bag It Bellingham has been busy hanging posters and doing "Share a Bag" drives at various stores and the Farmers' Market this past month, gearing up for the big day. The City has a great website with a FAQ for Retailers as well as a
poster that can be downloaded and printed if a store is interested. 115 posters were delivered to Bellis Fair today and many other stores around town wanted more than one when we stopped by with them in hand. Ross already started offering paper bags for 5 cents the first of July, when Seattle implemented a similar ordinance modeled after ours. The manager mentioned that at least 50% of the customers are not purchasing the paper bags because they don't want to pay the nickel a bag and around 15% of the customers are starting to bring their own bags. They were very pleased with how it was going so far and how receptive the customers have been...and to see the changes occurring.
Albertsons has great signage up in their parking lots and hopes to run a promotion the first week, where a customer can purchase a reusable bag for the person behind them in line...paying it forward. Target is planning to give away 4,000 reusable bags to the first 4,000 customers in August. Stay tuned for more news on what other stores have up their sleeves as we near August 1. We are proud to know that Bellingham has helped lead a charge of cities across the NW to pass bag reduction ordinances, with the goal to move to reusable bags, not paper. A recent article has a list of cities with ordinances, and their specifics. With so many variations among them, there will be another effort this coming year to pass a statewide ban in OR and WA calling for a ban on plastic and a fee on paper. Meanwhile, we Bellinghamsters are proud for what we have accomplished, thanks to the many volunteers and citizen support in this effort. Come by the Farmers Market this Saturday to pick up a handmade reusable bag by the Bellingham Walkers Club! OR Stop by Haggen and purchase one of the 3 winning designs on their new reusable bags for sale at the registers. The bag pictured on top was the elementary school winner, artwork by David. And as David says on the bag, LET'S GO GREEN TOGETHER.

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