Locals have mixed thoughts on new bag fee law

    Locals have mixed thoughts on new bag fee law

    ELLENSBURG, Wash.- It's been nearly two months since Ellensburg issued a city wide bag fee, and Government Relations Officer Margaret Reich has heard opinions from all over the spectrum.

    "We received feedback from people saying that they are having a hard time adjusting to the bag fee, to people who are delighted about the bag fee, to even people who have let us know that we haven't gone far enough," said Reich.

    Others say they would feel more comfortable paying the fee if they knew what retailers were doing with the extra funds. Grocery store managers Action News spoke with said all of the money from the bag fee goes directly back into the store.

    Reich says many opinions are based on locals not understanding what the ordinance is.

    "Sometimes it's a misinterpretation of a tax versus a fee, and this is not a tax. This is a fee and the retailers retain the fundings." said Reich.

    From people not wanting to bring their own bag, to shoppers proudly carrying dozens of reusable bags with them, to people who say they should ban plastic bags all together, Reich says once they collect actual data of how the process is going, they will then decide on whether to make adjustments.

    "What we want to learn from the implementation of the ordinance is how it has it impacted people's behavior in the retailer stores, and how has it impacted the waste stream that we find at the transfer station," said Reich.

    The city will have a report on just what kind of difference the bag fee law has made this time next year.

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