Issaquah Chamber not ready to make recommendation on plastic bag ban

The Issaquah Greater Chamber of Commerce isn't ready to take a stance on the city's proposed ban of single-use plastic bags and the implementation of 5-cent fee for the use of paper bags.

Issaquah could decide as early as Monday if it will impose a plastic bag ban.

Issaquah could decide as early as Monday if it will impose a plastic bag ban.

The Issaquah Greater Chamber of Commerce isn’t ready to take a stance on the city’s proposed ban of single-use plastic bags and the implementation of 5-cent fee for the use of paper bags.

Chamber CEO Matt Bott addressed the Issaquah City Council in a letter Wednesday, weighing the pros and cons of the possible ordinance.

“It is clear that there is a significant difference of opinion between certain national grocery chains and other local and national retailers on the affects this policy will have on businesses and local consumers,” Bott wrote.

Chamber leaders were pleased the ordinance would be very similar to other communities like Seattle who have successfully imposed such regulations and that it would encourage the use of re-useable cloth bags.

There were concerns, however.

Among those were the environmental impact of increased production of paper bags and the additional cost to consumers. The Chamber estimated annual cost for Issaquah consumers would approximately $400,000 to $500,000 spent on paper bags.

“This represents a substantial net outflow of commerce from the community,” Bott wrote.

The Chamber said it hoped the increased costs, however slight, wouldn’t cause shifts in consumer behavior — either driving locals to other communities or preventing non-residents from shopping in Issaquah.

The Chamber released its latest results from a recent survey asking members to weigh in on the proposal. Out of 77 responses, slightly more than half of the participants indicated they were not in favor.

Of the 30 anonymous comments, there was a variety for and against.

“It would be about time, don’t you think?” wrote one commenter. “We keep hearing Issaquah and ‘green.'”

Another wrote, “There is no need to force retailers or consumers into this type of legislation, I’m definitely opposed to it.”

The Issaquah City Council will hold a public discussion and possible decision on the topic 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 2 at City Hall.

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