Seattle, WA – Today, the House Environment and Energy Committee is holding a hearing on the Reusable Bag Bill, HB 1205. Following is the statement of Environment Washington Director Bruce Speight:
“Plastic has been documented in hundreds of species of marine life, including gray whales found washed up on the shores of the Salish Sea, 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species. Ingesting these fragments is often fatal. Toxic chemicals in plastic can harm animals’ health—and people can ingest these chemicals as they make their way up the food chain.
Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries. That’s why we’re calling on state leaders to ban single-use plastic bags in Washington.
The state of California banned single-use plastic bags in 2016. According to the Seattle Times, ‘In California, plastic bags accounted for more than 7.4 percent of litter collected on beaches during the state’s 2010 Coastal Cleanup Day. That number dropped to 3.1 percent in 2017, down from 3.4 percent in 2016.’
We thank Rep. Strom Peterson for sponsoring this important piece of legislation and Chair Fitzgibbon for his leadership in bringing it before the Committee.
Let’s choose wildlife over waste. Moving beyond single-use plastics is something we can do right now. The passage of the Reusable Bag Bill would be a big step forward in reducing the plastic pollution that threatens wildlife and our environment.”
A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate, SB 5323, and will have a hearing in Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee this Thursday, January 24.
Environment Washington is a statewide, membership-based environmental advocacy organization. www.environmentwashington.org.