Support for Seattle’s Plastic Bag Fee

Posted by | March 16, 2010 | General | No Comments

A client of mine that owns reusablebags.com recently was contacted by the Mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, who requested my client’s support with Seattle’s proposed Plastic Bag Fee. Residents of the city of Seattle vote on August 18 whether to implement a twenty cent tax on plastic bags distributed by merchants such as grocers and convenience stores.  Many of the grocers and big drugstores already participate in a voluntary education program encouraging consumers to use reusable bags.

Seattle’s proposed tax is modeled after Ireland’s successful tax (affectionately known as a Plastax), which has been in place since March, 2002.  Ireland implemented a 33 cent tax per plastic bag, which is paid by consumers at the time of purchase.  This charge for plastic bags all but eliminated these harmful devils from the country (and the countryside where they’re often found blowing about in the wind).

Although nay-sayers claim that the bag tax will have a disparate negative impact on people of low income, there are several groups in the Seattle area working to ensure that such folks do get reusable bags to use.  In fact, an alliance of merchants, together with the city, just donated 50,000 bags to Northwest Harvest (a supplier of Seattle’s food banks) for distribution to the people it helps.

Ultimately, as long as folks who need reusable bags can get them, I think that the Seattle Bag Fee makes perfect sense and hope to see something similar implemented in and around Lake Tahoe soon.

UPDATE: Seattlites voted down the bag tax and ban on plastic bags  http://seattlebagtax.org/

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

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