Target: Washington Governor Christine Gregoire
Goal: Enact statewide ban against single-use plastic bags in Washington state.
Approximately 2 billion disposable plastic bags are distributed each year to Washingtonians carrying home their groceries and other purchases. These bags add to the total nationwide count of 100 billion plastic bags used annually. Less than 5 percent of these bags are recycled. The large majority that are not recycled end up in our oceans threatening marine life, litter our streets and photodegrade into smaller bits destined to contaminate our soil and waterways. It is important that our lawmakers are made aware of these dangers and start reducing the impact plastic bags have on the environment. Enacting a ban in Washington state could possibly start a chain reaction and encourage other states across America to do the same.
By simply bringing a reusable bag or two along on a shopping trip, Washington residents can significantly cut down on single-use disposable plastic bags. With the reduction of plastic bag use comes the much-needed reduction in animal deaths caused by plastic. Turtles, fish and seabirds of all kinds swallow toxic plastic bits thinking it is food, filling their stomachs, making them starve to death. Entanglement is also an issue, leading to the suffocation of innocent marine animals. Once these plastics are ingested by fish specifically, pollutants like PCB and DDT start circulating throughout the food chain, so not only are the animals affected by our over consumption of plastic bags, but so are we when we eat seafood.
Another issue with plastic bags is their toxic, non-biodegradable components, their production process and the hazards it all inflicts upon the environment we often take for granted. Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, a type of plastic that requires the use of two nonrenewable resources: petroleum and natural gas. Manufacturing these bags emits large quantities of pollution and greenhouse gases into the air, speeding up the rate of global warming.
Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Seattle, and Bainbridge Island are five cities in Washington that have already adopted a plastic bag ban. All convenience and retail stores included in the different bans are required to either provide reusable bags for purchase, or charge a 5-cent fee for customers who want a paper bag instead. In addition, Seattle and Bellingham exempt low-income individuals from the 5-cent paper bag fee, which should also be included in a Washington statewide plastic ban once it is enacted.
Sign this petition and urge Washington’s Governor Christine Gregoire to create a ban against disposable, single-use plastic bags.
Dear Governor Christine Gregoire,
Annually, 2 billion bags are used by Washington consumers. Less than 5 percent of these bags are actually recycled. The plastic bags that are not recycled end up either suffocating and killing innocent marine and farm animals, or littering our roadway and breaking down to release toxins into our waterways and soil. Convenience right now means more environmental issues later, and the effects of these issues are making themselves clear already.
Bellingham, Seattle, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Bainbridge Island are five cities in Washington that have already implemented the plastic bag ban act. Issaquah and Port Townsend will begin phasing out use of disposable plastic bags in the coming months. Instead of providing plastic bags, stores offer reusable bags or compostable bags. Other stores offer paper bags for 5 cents each and those who are low-income are rightfully exempt from this fee.
Cities across the nation are realizing the need for action and starting to ban plastic bags. This is a great start and provides immediate relief. However, if we want to make a real difference and stop our landfills, oceans and forests from becoming overly cluttered with a bag we use one time, statewide bans are necessary. Washington state would be the first to ban plastic bags in the United States, setting an example for the rest of the nation and world. Please create this ban and take a stand against an unsustainable future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public domain image