Will Yakima soon join other Washington cities in bag fee movement?
YAKIMA, Wash. - A bag fee or an outright ban to reduce plastic bag waste? It's a movement that's been done in Ellensburg, Seattle, Bellingham and other cities all over the nation, but will Yakima be open to the concept?
"I know we aren't rated very high on sustainability and conservation in Yakima, but the plastic bag industry is a multi-billion dollar industry here in Yakima so I honestly don't know what the majority would think about it," said City Council Member Jason White.
Yakima shoppers here say there are many pros and cons about the idea.
"It's a good idea, because I think these thrifty habits are good for people, especially when they're young," said Pablo Marquez, a Yakima shopper.
"I would probably disagree just because we all use so many of them, it would be an added expense for sure. I really wouldn't want to pay that," said Debbie Gorman, a Yakima shopper.
On average one person uses about 500 grocery bags a year, and at the Terrace Heights Landfill site, workers here say they see it just about everywhere.
"Plastic bags are very difficult for us to deal with because they don't bury very well, it's a problem for us. It's a disposable item that actually lives forever in the landfill," said Marci Venable, Program Coordinator at Yakima County.
Venable says cities with bag fee's have seen a decrease in plastic waste.
"Statistically, those carry out fees which is what they are doing in Ellensburg work better than a ban," said Venable.
White says the council is working on environmental projects, one being turning our waste into actual reusable energy, and says he supports any ideas that will help improve Yakima.
"There's a big movement towards conservation and a big demand for it, but the route that we go about it is definitely up in the air," said White.