Lacey must join bag ban

The OlympianOctober 23, 2013 

Three of South Sound’s four major players have signed on to a Thurston County-wide ban on the single-use plastic grocery bags. Olympia recently joined Tumwater and Thurston County’s unincorporated areas in nixing the filmsy plastic bags.

AP PHOTO/ANDY WONG

Three of South Sound’s four major players have signed on to a Thurston County-wide ban on the single-use plastic grocery bags. Olympia recently joined Tumwater and Thurston County’s unincorporated areas in nixing the filmsy plastic bags.

But the Lacey City Council is hesitating. Borrowing a page from the Olympia City Council, Lacey wants create a large-scale public input process before making a decision. We wonder how much more information, and to what end, the city needs.

More public input is always better than not enough. But the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Group spent a year doing surveys and holding public forums on the topic. The resulting analysis and common ordinance is a model for interjurisdictional cooperation for a greater good.

The county’s survey, which was conducted both online and at its public events, included 939 Lacey residents. It wasn’t a scientifically valid survey, but the results are revealing. More than twice as many respondents favored a ban than opposed it — 49 percent of respondents for and 23 percent against. Twenty-eight percent said maybe.

A countywide ban makes the most sense and ensures consistent expectations for consumers and ensures the same rules and regulations are applicable to retailers regardless of where they do business.

In any case, the Lacey City Council should approve the ban by the end of the year, or early January at the latest. Any later and it compromises the extensive education outreach programs needed before the common July 1, 2014 start date. If Lacey fails to adopt the ban, it will be passing up an opportunity to be part of a leadership role for the rest of the state to emulate.

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