Serving Franklin County, WA

Plastic bag ban is only a scam on shoppers

On the Hot Seat

I’ve never been a fan of the new ban on plastic bags and straws in our state.

Subconsciously, I always knew it was a designed scheme to get more money out of people shopping in stores or having a beverage at a gas station or fast food stop.

As you know, the politicos in Seattle and Olympia said that wasn’t the case. They said it was necessary to help eliminate the number of plastic straws and bags along our roadways, ending up in our streams and plaguing our landfills.

They said future bags would be thicker and usable more than once. They also said the nominal fee on these new plastic or paper bags would be just a pass-through amount to help cover cleanup costs.

Stores were limited to a charge of 8 cents per bag, under the law passed in 2020.

Because of my objection to the plastic ban, when checking out after shopping, I have subsequently just put items back in the cart or basket, taken them to my truck and unloaded, sans bags.

But big-box stores aren’t happy with shoppers like me who refuse to fill their monetary coffers through bag purchases. And they are becoming assertive on pushing their bag sales on customers.

Not only are some charging more than the 8 cents allowed, some now have employees policing self-checkout areas, taking baskets and carts from shoppers who aren’t using — and buying — store bags. I guess the big-box managers are hopping rebellious shoppers will just give up and buy more bags.

Let’s be honest — the whole plastic bag and straw ban is just silly.

The old thin bags really weren’t one-time-use. They also served just fine as a garbage can liner in the bathroom or laundry room.

The new, much-thicker bags, do to. As you know, they’re basically the same size.

I guess when it comes to shoppers like me, the ban is leading to fewer bags being used. At the same time, my escape from the law isn’t enriching anyone else’s coffers.

At least stores in our rural communities aren’t trying to profit from the bag ban. In fact, most go out of there way to help keep costs down.

Bags may cost only a few pennies, but I guarantee those pennies would add up after a year.

And what about the push to eliminate plastic straws? I don’t believe that’s working.

Nothing irks me more than stopping for quick lunch at a fast food restaurant and having some young whippersnapper ask me if I want a straw for my beverage. Are you kidding me?

With the cheap cups typically offered, the only thing keeping a beverage cup stable is a plastic lid and a straw to whet your whistle. Besides, few fast food restaurants have converted to paper straws, as of yet.

I don’t expect westside liberals to reverse course on their bag and straw ban. So, I’ll continue my bag-less protest and continue asking for straws.

Eventually, customers will regain control of their own shopping needs.

— Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing and the Whitman County Gazette. Email him at [email protected].

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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