SeaRAG – 1 Disposable Bags – 0

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RAN activists in Seattle have been tirelessly organizing for the past year on a “BYOB” or Bring Your Own Bag project that would reduce waste and encourage recycling within the city of Seattle. Yesterday, SeaRAG got news that their efforts paid off, Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed a disposable bag “green fee” which would apply to disposable shopping bags – both paper and plastic.

SeaRAG’s announcement is below, and includes a way for people to support the disposable bag fee by writing a letter to the editor encouraging the Seattle City Council to adopt the mayor’s proposal. Congratulations SeaRAG!


We have exciting news, folks!

For the last eleven months, some of us from the Seattle Rainforest Action Group (SeaRAG) have been working on a project we call BYOB, or Bring Your Own Bag. We figured a great way to protect our forests and planet was to do something about all the paper and plastic bags we use and throw away every day. Yuck!

Well, yesterday Mayor Greg Nickels and City Council President Richard Conlin announced a first-in-the-nation plan to impose a fee on most disposable bags across the city, which should start a massive shift to reusable shopping bags. This is an amazing result of our months of lobbying the city. They have adopted exactly the plan we have been pushing! The reduced bag use will cut our global warming gases equivalent to taking 620 cars off the road.

But this proposal is not out of the woods yet. The City Council will have to sign-off in the coming months. And you can bet your britches that lobbyists for the bag industry will try to sabotage our local initiative, as occurred when San Francisco attempted to enact similar rules.

So, we need your help to make sure that doesn’t happen. Writing a letter to the editor of Seattle PI or the Seattle Times in the next couple of days is the best way to show that the people of Seattle support an end to the scourge of disposable bags. Below we’ve included all the info you need to take this quick and easy, but important, action.

Also, there was a ton of media generated by the news. Check out the amazing list (all in one day!) at the bottom of this email for articles currently online. The PI is planning to run an editorial.


Limit your letter to 200-600 words. The shorter the better!
Reference the title of the article in your first sentence.
You must include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification, or they will not publish your letter.
The PI article is here and you can email your letter to:
The Times article is here and you can email your letter to:

Here are some points you can mention (but the more personal the better!):

1. It makes sense to pay up front for our bags instead of letting others pay for us. Right now the stores cover the production cost, the city cleans the litter, and the environment takes a hit for the pollution bags cause.

2. Bags are a big deal: this plan will reduce our global warming gases equivalent to taking 620 cars off the road and save tens of thousands of trees a year.

3. Kicking the disposable bag habit is a great place to start combating our throw-away culture and cultivating the green lifestyles that we need to protect our planet.

Also, another great part of the plan is a ban on Styrofoam food containers (they pollute our oceans and never totally break down), which was supported by our good grassroots allies at Foam Free Seattle. You might want to mention some things about this, too:

– Styrofoam pieces are in our creeks, lakes and Puget Sound. It is a pollutant for wildlife.
– Good alternatives are on the market
– Many other cities have already done it – why has Seattle been so slow?

That’s it. You’ve now got yourself one hot poppin’ letter to the editor!

Make your voice heard on the net, too! Contribute to KIRO TV’s surveys:

SURVEY: What Do You Think Of The Green Fee?
SURVEY: Should Foam Containers Be Banned?

Articles on-line so far:

Seattle Post Intelligencer

Seattle Times

San Juan Journal – This is a good one!

King 5


Everett HeraldNet

Puget Sound Business Journal

Tacoma News Tribune

Daily Journal of Commerce Green Building Blog

Thanks for your support, everyone. Be sure to write your LTE today! We will be fighting in the coming months to make sure that wasteful disposable bags become a thing of the past in Seattle.

-The BYOB Team: Liz, Dan, Justin and “Baby Bags”