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Proposals to restrict single-use plastic items gaining steam in Gig Harbor

Plastic-bag crackdown causes minimal grief

Official complaints over the Tacoma's Bring Your Own Bag ordinance were low. The city's customer support service system logged just 22 complaints for 34 businesses from July 24 to May 11 of this year.
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Official complaints over the Tacoma's Bring Your Own Bag ordinance were low. The city's customer support service system logged just 22 complaints for 34 businesses from July 24 to May 11 of this year.

Support appears to be building for two ordinances that would restrict stores and restaurants in Gig Harbor from using certain products, including plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam.

A majority of the people who spoke about the ordinances at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting said they support banning some kinds of plastics from the city.

That included Holly Chisa of the Northwest Grocery Association, who told the council her group would abide by the ordinances if passed.

“We are here today to let you know the ordinance in front of you today is one that we know, and if you choose to go this direction, we would support that decision,” Chisa said.

City Council member Jeni Woock is pushing the ordinances, one of which would eliminate plastic bags in retail shops and restaurants, the other of which would ban the use of plastic straws and Styrofoam contains at similar establishments.

“If we truly care about the health of the citizens, we have to make sure we are doing our part to help curtail this plastic litter,” Woock said.

Council member Michael Perrow agreed something should be done but said the route the council is taking is a feel-good and lazy approach.

“I’ve got troubles with plastic waste,” Perrow said during the meeting. “But the narrow focus on plastic bags and doing a carbon copy on Seattle or Tacoma ordinance doesn’t make sense to me. If we are really meaningful on wanting to deal with plastic waste and the detrimental effects then we need a more comprehensive approach.”

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That could include banning single-use plastic bottles, he said.

“I bet Costco sold so many, you could stack all the bottles up and the pile would be bigger than Costco itself,” Perrow said.

Zero Waste Coalition presented information to the council that showed a 2025 projection that for every 3 pounds of fish in the waters, there will be 1 pound of plastic. The presentation also explained the growth of plastic, saying half of all plastic ever produced has been in past 13 years.

“We have to be part of the solution to get plastic out of the environment. It’s part of the food chain now,” Woock said.

High school students also came to show their support of both ordinances, saying they would help to protect wildlife from consuming plastic waste.

The City Council will meet Nov. 26 to further discuss the ordinances.

Perrow said he would meet separately with Zero Waste Coalition and come back with suggestions on how the ordinances can be improved.

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