It’s time for Tacoma to move on from plastic bags. They create visual pollution, which begets more litter. They clog infrastructure and processing equipment at recycling plants. They pose a health threat to animals and Puget Sound. And they contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other ocean gyres.
Some argue that “single-use plastic bags” is a misnomer as they are actually reused. How else to pick up after your dog or contain a diaper? How about bread bags, newspaper bags and other packaging that isn’t going anywhere any time soon?
Others suggest that a restriction imposes unfair costs to low-income residents, but the 5-cent fee wouldn’t apply to anyone paying with WIC, EBT or SNAP.
Another argument says plastic bags represent a small portion of the waste stream and that banning them hardly seems worthwhile. However, the symbolism is also important, and the psychological benefits spill over into other behaviors. Moreover, their continued presence is an implicit acceptance of the status quo around consumption, plastic and waste.
Simply put, it’s time to reduce the demand for plastic so that the very idea of a methanol plant may be rendered moot.