Can the manufacturers of plastic-bag dispensers afford the Seattle bag tax?

What will the bag tax do to the makers of somewhat-more-stylish bag of bags replacements? 


What will the bag tax do to the makers of somewhat-more-stylish 'bag of bags' replacements?


It’s easy to dismiss the Seattle bag tax as the product of the Green Nazis in city government. After all, if you’re like us in the plastic bag industry and you don’t want to pay $450,000 for a 250-square-foot Belltown studio, there’s no room for you in the city anyway.

But its effects would reach much father than the borders of Shoreline and White Center. It would tear at the very heart of America — that is, the retailers and marketers of simple manufactured goods designed to ease the organizing crunch that affects so many of us who have so much stuff (and take it home from the store in clean, sanitary, and economic disposable plastic bags!)

Take, for example, all those companies that manufacture some variety of the plastic bag dispenser you see at the top right of this post. Just think: what will happen to their Seattle market share if the Seattle bag tax stays in effect?

At first, nothing will happen. After all, most of us have dozens if not hundreds of plastic bags desperately awaiting re-use, squirreled away in our kitchen cabinets.

But slowly, over the decades, those supplies will decrease. One by one, your stowed-away bags — once free at point of purchase!, in the good old days — will make their way to the landfill (or the Puget Sound). They’ll leave your cabinet filled up with cat litter, or cradling some rotten lettuce you don’t want to let touch your garbage can because it’s slimy and icky, or used to empty the small and rarely-filled garbage can in your so-called “den” that’s really more of a storage room.

Eventually, at some point, your bag of bags will be empty, each bag disposed of as nature intended the disposable bag to be.

What then, I ask? 

What then?

What then, indeed.

When the time comes, one by one, the plastic  bag dispensers of Seattle will be dismounted from cabinet doors. Their screw-holes will be spackled over.

They will be forgotten. Another part of our city’s working class heritage, erased.

And jobs will be lost — the jobs of those who work hard, day and night, to manufacture organizational knickknacks like the plastic bag dispenser.

Is that a vision of the future Seattle wants? Because that’s the future we’re going to get ourselves, 20 cents at a time.

With gas at $4 a gallon, can we really afford to be destroying jobs so haphazardly? Can we really afford the bag tax?


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