Recycling won't eliminate threat of plastics bags on Washington's environment, wildlife, bans are best solution, according to new report by advocacy group Environment Washington
February 15, 2012
– Plastic bags threaten marine wildlife and recycling won’t solve the problem according to a new report released today by Environment Washington, a citizen-based advocacy group that won a ban on plastic bags in Seattle. Concerned over the impact plastic bags have on wildlife, the group is working with communities across the state for similar bans.
In 2010, a gray whale was found dead in West Seattle with 20 plastic bags in its stomach, raising concern about how the bags threaten Puget Sound wildlife. While the plastics industry admits there is a problem with plastic pollution, it insists recycling can solve it. According to a new report from Environment Washington, A Solution Not in the Bag, recycling is not the answer.
“We can’t recycle our way out of this plastic bag mess,” said Robb Krehbiel of Environment Washington. “To protect wildlife from plastic bags, we need to get rid of them.”
Of the twenty-one municipalities that responded to a survey sent out by Environment Washington over 70% of those interviewed want plastic bags out of their recycling systems. Other key findings from the report include:
Plastic bag bans such as these are the best solution, according to Environment Washington. In Washington, Seattle, Bellingham, Edmonds, and Mukilteo have all banned plastic bags. A renewed effort to ban plastic bags statewide began this year, and lawmakers plan to further to discussion next year.
In addition to causing problems with recycling machinery, Environment Washington has claimed that plastic bags threaten wildlife. According to the group, whales, seals, salmon, and birds can ingest these bags, choke on them, or be harmed by toxins.