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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Terri Thomas, Education & Outreach Specialist, Solid Waste Division at (360) 867-2279

Plastic Bags - What Should We Do

OLYMPIA - Residents, business leaders, and people interested in the environment are all invited to join the conversation in September on what do about plastic bags.

Four "Community Conversations on Plastic Bags" will be held throughout Thurston County in September, and the public is invited to join the conversation and have their say. The public is also invited to attend the September 13 meeting of the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Council.

"The costs and impacts of plastic bags in our community are real--it costs the recycling facility about $1000 a day just to deal with bags that have been put in curbside recycling bins," said Terri Thomas, Education and Outreach Specialist with the county's Solid Waste Division. "We really need community input and ideas for addressing the plastic bag issue in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way."

So far this summer, staff from the Thurston County Solid Waste Division have held four community forums and conducted surveys to find out what people think about plastic bags, and what we can do to address the nearly 90 million bags we use--and discard--each year in Thurston County.

Over 2,900 participants have completed an online survey so far, and the online survey will continue through the end of September. County staffers and volunteers are also gathering more comments with in-person surveys at special events throughout September, and 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 public is also welcome to attend the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Council regular monthly meetings on the second Thursday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Thurston County Public Works, 9605 Tilley Road SW just south of the Tumwater city limits. The September 13 advisory council meeting agenda includes special guests who were involved in the effort and legislation to ban plastic bags in Seattle. A public comment session is part of each meeting, and residents are invited to give input on the plastic bag issue or other solid waste issues in Thurston County.

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 The new www.thurstonsolidwaste.org/plastics by scrolling down to the "Plastic Bags-Help Us Find Solutions" section.

Community Conversations on Plastic Bags
Public Meetings

Wed, Sept. 5
6 - 8 pm
Rainier City Hall
102 Rochester St W in Rainier

Thur, Sept. 6
6 - 8 pm
Tumwater Fire Department HQ
311 Israel Rd SW in Tumwater

Wed, Sept. 12
6 - 8 pm
Lacey City Hall, Community Room
420 College St SE in Lacey

Wed, Sept. 19
6 - 8 pm
Olympia City Hall, Council Chambers
601 Fourth Ave E in Olympia



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3