The bags become tangled in sorting equipment

Terri Thomas’ mission this summer is to educate Thurston County about plastic bags.

An estimated 90 million plastic shopping bags are used in the county each year, Thomas said, most of which are not recycled.

About 4.5 percent of those 90 million bags are recycled and another 9 percent are reused, a number Thomas said is ”dismally low.”

”They are urban tumbleweeds,” said Thomas, an education and outreach specialist with the county solid waste department. ”They just catch wind and go everywhere … it’s one of the most common things you will find in litter.”

Thomas has spoken with city councils in Bucoda, Yelm, Rainier, Tumwater and Lacey about the statistics. She plans to speak to Olympia and Tenino by early July.

So far,bike saddle she said most jurisdictions are showing interest in discussing the topic, she said.

”Thurston County is taking a lead on upcoming community dialogues,” said Tumwater Councilmember Tom Oliva at a work session in May. ”I’ve been concerned about each city dealing with this itself; it’s a regional issue. Otherwise, people could cross city lines to go to another store.”

At this point, the county is looking at plastic grocery bags and not bags used for meat and produce, carry-out or thicker bags like the ones found in clothing stores.

Plastic bags cannot be recycled with the curb side recycling bins because of the damage they do at the recycling facility.

The bags become tangled in sorting equipment, costing recycling facilities an extra $1,bicycle saddles000 per day to clear them, Thomas said.

Thomas said he hopes this summer’s education will lead to understanding where city leaders stand on finding a solution to the issues that come with using plastic bags.

Those solutions could include charging for them at the store or even banning them all together, similar to what Seattle and Bellingham have done.

Grocery stores throughout the county have already begun encouraging customers to use reusable bags versus plastic. Thomas said most also provide a place to recycle the bags.

”I think generally, if you have a reusable bag, that’s better all the way around,” said Thriftway store owner Kevin Stormans.

Signs in his store parking lots remind shoppers to bring in their reusable bags from their cars. Stormans said they have also given away countless bags to local groups.

As for looking to charge for the bags or to ban them altogether, Stormans said he’s not quite ready to weigh in yet.burberry bags He says it’s not about banning, it’s about changing people’s routines.

”That’s the best solution – that people use reusable bags, not necessarily ban one type of bag or another, but people just need to completely change behaviors and use the reusable bags,” Stormans said.authentic Gucci Handbags

Cheryl Selby, owner of Vivala, a women’s clothing store in downtown Olympia, said she uses a different type of plastic bag in her store.

”Our shopping bags are made from recycled florist paper,” Selby said. ”They repurpose them into shopping bags that are really cute.”

She also uses gift wrapping made from recycled products.

While a ban or charge against plastic bags wouldn’t affect her business,louis vuitton borse she still supports the idea of changing the way plastic bags are used.

”I strongly support a ban on the single-use plastic bags,” she said. ”There are so many statistics; they don’t get recycled … and they jam up the machines.”

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