Lacey is right for wanting more public input on plastic bags

October 23rd, 2013 by Ken

Recently “The Olympian” ran an editorial chiding Lacey for not passing the plastic bag ban and saying its failure to do so showed a lack of leadership.

Of course, the paper’s editorial is slated, biased and totally in character with its political persuasion.  It never has  understood Lacey.

Let’s review the history of the plastic bag ban in Thurston County.

The idea of a plastic bag ban in Thurston County started in Seattle, when that city became only the seventh city in the entire United States to ban plastic bags.

The idea was picked up by a county staff member, who used her position to get the concept before the Solid Waste Advisory Council.   Students at The Evergreen State College grasped onto the idea.   When the subject came up for public discussion, it was the students at the college who testified in favor.   They were often the only people in attendance.

The public hearings held around the county drew only supporters of the ban.   For the most part, those in opposition felt the idea was so out of the mainstream that our elected officials would see the fallacy of the concept and reject it.

They were of course wrong.   Our elected officials fell over themselves to show that they were environmentalist despite any scientific fact that what supporters of the idea were saying was even true.

Only the City of Lacey looked for the right answers.  It invited users of the plastic bags and manufacturers of the plastic bag, to meet with them and provide information.   Following that meeting, Lacey had a better understanding of plastic bags, what they were used for and how they are manufactured and re-used.

None of the other cities did such investigation.

Therefore, it makes sense, that Lacey officials want more input from the public before adopting a ban with little or no positive consequences for the environment.

As an aside – – it wasn’t many years ago that environmentalists were obsessed over plastic diapers.   If you remember, they used the same arguments – – diapers couldn’t be recycled.   They were filling up our landfills and would last in the environment for a thousand years.

What happened?   When three million American mothers learned that one of their most important products was about to be banned – – they let their elected officials know their feelings.   Today, we still have plastic diapers, the land fills are not full and the idea has disappeared as an issue.

I’m not equating plastic baby diapers with plastic bags.   There won’t be millions of Americans protesting if plastic bags are banned – – but – despite what your local paper says, we haven’t really heard from the public.

What’s the hurry?

The residents of Lacey have sent dozens of letters and emails to the city asking for an opportunity to have their say.

And,  isn’t that what our council members ran on – – more openness in government?



Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics

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