Seattle’s ban on plastic shopping bags started effective July 1, 2012. Retailers within the Seattle city limit can no longer offer plastic bags to customers (except for meat, produce, and bulk food) and also are required to charge customer $0.05 each for paper bags. Seattle is the fourth city in the State of Washington following Bellingham, Edmonds, and Mukilteo.
Even with an active outreach from local media channels, the Seattle Times reports that some people were still caught by surprise.
Plastic -Bag Ban Catches Some Seattle Shoppers by Surprise, Seattle Times (July 2, 2012)
As mentioned in a previous blog posting, Paper vs. Plastic | Opportunity Knocks (June 6, 2012), there is no perfect solution. Whatever your thoughts are on banning plastic bags, there is a growing trend toward restrictions and limitation on packaging materials. There is also a global trend toward Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) where the original manufacturers have responsibility for the product and packaging end of life.
We continue to believe that this is a great opportunity to proactively rethink your packaging strategies for shipments to your customers as well as your inbound shipments to your manufacturing facility.
- Can you reduce or eliminate packaging materials?
- Is reuse of your packaging an option?
- Do you specify recycled content or design for ease of recycling?
The sliver lining associated with rethinking your approach to packaging just might be cost reductions benefiting your bottom line, reduced packaging waste, and improved branding perception by your customers. Wishing you continued success in your sustainable packaging journey!