Standing with her 5-month old son, Sequoia, in her arms, Ravenna resident Liz Tatchell told a Seattle City Council panel what members would hear from citizens throughout the night -- Seattle is ready to bag the grocery bags.Oh, to have been there . . .
"I think it's a great step in the right direction," Tatchell said Tuesday during the first public hearing on a proposed ban on foam food containers and a fee for disposable grocery bags. "It's more than just the bags -- it's a lifestyle change."
Like Tatchell, nearly all of the dozens of Seattleites who spoke during the lively hearing supported the proposal. Representatives of the grocery industry were less sanguine, with most arguing for a flat fee rather than a per-bag charge.
At issue during the hearing before the council's Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee was a total ban on polystyrene containers and a fee on disposable bags, be they plastic or paper.
The hearing served as a coming out party for the proposed regulations, which were floated by Mayor Greg Nickels in April. If enacted, the new regulations would ban not-so-green food containers -- from polystyrene to-go boxes to plastic sauce cups and forks -- and would assess a 20-cent-per-bag "green fee" on shopping bags.
Since its unveiling, the proposal has been received alternatively as a bold step toward a sustainable Seattle or an attack on Seattle's poor and middle-class residents.
Tuesday's event got off to a silly start, with a short statement by a Shoreline city councilwoman accompanied by a woman wrapped in 400-plus plastic bags. Her presentation was followed nearly two hours later by an appearance from the "Plastic Menace" -- one Jake Harris of Wallingford, wrapped in plastic bags.
Members of the activist organization Raging Grannies belted out a slightly revised version of the Woody Guthrie standard "This Land Is Your Land" that urged conservation. [...]
Crossposted on Soccer Dad