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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Contact:
Terri Thomas, Education & Outreach Specialist, Solid Waste Division

Public Invited to Community Conversations on Plastic Bags


OLYMPIA -- What to do with an estimated 90 million plastic shopping bags used in Thurston County each year? -- that's the question the Thurston County Solid Waste Division is taking to the streets this summer with forums where residents, business leaders, and non-profit organizations can get involved and give comments on the issue.

"People are always surprised when they hear that only about four percent of those bags get recycled. It's a real problem," said Terri Thomas, Education and Outreach Specialist with the county's Solid Waste Division. "Community input is critical as we identify possible solutions to the growing problem of single-use shopping bags."

The "Community Conversations on Plastic Bags" series of public meetings kicks off with a presentation from Mark Daniels of the American Progressive Bag Alliance to the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Council on Thursday, August 9 (complete schedule below). The public is invited to attend the advisory council meeting.

Other Community Conversation meetings will be held throughout the county in August and September, where the public is invited to give ideas and comments on the issue of plastic bags.

County staffers have already begun work gathering the public's comments and ideas on plastic bags with an online survey that runs through September. Over 1,700 participants have completed the online survey so far, and county staffers and volunteers are gathering more comments with in-person surveys at special events throughout the summer. In-person survey participants receive a free re-usable shopping bag.

More information about the Community Conversations on Plastic Bags is available online at www.thurstonsolidwaste.org/plastics. The web page also has a link to the online plastic bag survey, as well as a link to sign up for Solid Waste Division email updates. For more information on the county's plastic bag outreach programs, contact Terri Thomas, Education & Outreach Specialist for the county's Solid Waste Division, at (360) 867-2279 or thomaste@co.thurston.wa.us.

The documentary film "Bag It" is also part of the county's plastic bag outreach effort, and residents are invited to coordinate screenings of the film. Contact Loni Hanka, Education & Outreach Specialist for the Solid Waste Division, at (360) 867-2282 or hankal@co.thurston.wa.us to make screening arrangements and for more information on the film "Bag It." A link to a short trailer video for the film is available on the county's website at www.thurstonsolidwaste.org/plastics by scrolling down to the "Plastic Bags--Help Us Find Solutions" section.


COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS ON PLASTIC BAGS
PUBLIC MEETINGS

Thur, Aug 9, 11:30 am to 1 pm -- Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Council
(Special Guest: Mark Daniels, American Progressive Bag Alliance)
Thurston County Public Works, 9605 Tilley Road SW, south of Tumwater

Tues, Aug 21, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Rochester Middle School Commons, 9937 Hwy 12 SW in Rochester

Wed, Aug 22, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Gordon's Grange Building, 302 E Yelm Ave in Yelm

Wed, Aug 29, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Bucoda City Hall, Council Chambers, 110 N Main St in Bucoda

Thur, Aug 30, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Tenino City Hall, Council Chambers, 149 Hodgden St S in Tenino

Wed, Sep 5, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Rainier City Hall, 102 Rochester St W in Rainier

Thur, Sep 6, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Tumwater Fire Department HQ, 311 Israel Rd SW in Tumwater

Wed, Sep 12, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Lacey City Hall, Community Room, 420 College St SE in Lacey

Wed, Sep 19, 6 to 8 pm -- Community Conversation on Plastic Bags
Olympia City Hall, Council Chambers, 601 Fourth Ave E in Olympia


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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3