From the Bellingham Herald:
Bellingham council votes 7-0 to approve plastic bag ban
July 11th, 2011
The Bellingham City Council just voted 7-0 to approve the plastic bag ban.
Plastic bag ban poised for passage tonight
July 11th, 2011
The Bellingham City Council appears to be ready to pass an ordinance to ban the use of plastic shopping bags at all retailers in the city.
The ordinance cleared the council’s Natural Resources committee on a 4-0 vote Monday afternoon July 11, with Chairman Seth Fleetwood and members Michael Lilliquist, Barry Buchanan and Gene Knutson voting. Two other council members in attendance, Terry Bornemann and Jack Weiss, also indicated their support for the measure.
If the council does approve it, the bag ban would take effect in one year after passage. Besides banning the use of lightweight disposable plastic shopping bags, the ordinance would also require retailers to charge customers five cents for each disposable paper bag they use.
The extra nickels are meant to help retailers cover the higher cost of the paper bags while giving shoppers an incentive to remember their reusable bags.
Under the legal procedure for adopting a new ordinance, the measure must get a second, final vote at another council meeting.
The seven-page ordinance contains a few complexities:
- Low-income people can be exempted from the nickel paper bag fee;
- A store can get a temporary exemption from the law that would be granted by the mayor, if that store can demonstrate a special hardship
- Paper bags provided to shoppers must be made from 40 percent recycled materials;
- Restaurants are still permitted to offer disposable plastic bags for take-out foods.
- Small paper bags can be offered to shoppers for small items, free of charge.