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Tacoma May Consider Disposable Shopping Bag Restrictions
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The Tacoma City Council may consider an ordinance on disposable shopping bags in 2016. The Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability is conducting outreach and seeking feedback on this topic on behalf of the Council’s Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee.

12/9/2015 to 1/15/2016
When: 12/9/2015
9:00 AM
Where: Online Comments
United States
Presenter: City of Tacoma
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Numerous communities around the nation and the world, beginning with Bangladesh in 2002, have restrictions on single-use shopping bags. Several models have been used to reduce dependency on single-use plastic and paper bags, each with their own advantages and limitations. For all models, paper bags must be at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content and 100 percent recyclable.


Disposable bag regulations in other communities have shown the following:

Voluntary reusable bag programs and outreach and education efforts are valuable, but have minimal impact on shifting consumer behavior. 

Banning plastic bags eliminates their use, but typically increases paper bag use if the ban is not accompanied by a fee on paper bags. For example, Portland, Oregon banned plastic bags without placing a fee on paper bags which resulted in a 491% increase in paper bag use after the first year.

When a fee is placed on disposable paper bags, the fee amount matters. A small fee ($0.05) may only reduce paper bag use minimally or not at all, while a higher fee ($0.10-$1.00) is likely to decrease paper bag use. For example, Los Angeles, California banned plastic bags and placed a $0.10 fee on paper bags which resulted in a 25% reduction in paper bag use.

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