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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 16, 2012
Terri Thomas, Education & Outreach Specialist, Solid Waste Division

Report Released Regarding Plastic Bags in Thurston County

After gathering feedback and surveys from nearly 3,800 residents, retailers, community leaders and industry experts, Thurston County Solid Waste Division staff and the county's Solid Waste Advisory Committee have issued a report on the challenges of managing plastic bag waste in Thurston County called "Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags."

The report marks the end of months of community dialog designed to gauge residents' reactions to various policies aimed at reducing the number of plastic bags in the Thurston County waste stream, as well as reducing the costs of managing the 90 million plastic bags used by Thurston County residents each year.

The report also includes recommendations made by the county's Solid Waste Advisory Committee, a citizens' advisory group that includes residents from various parts of the county, experts from the recycling and solid waste management industry, and area civic leaders. The advisory committee recommended exploring a ban on plastic bags as a possible solution, noting that it was a policy option that not only had the potential to significantly cut the amount of plastic bag waste and pollution in Thurston County, but also could potentially reduce the costs the county incurs in managing the waste and cleaning up the pollution.

"The issue of plastic bags is no small matter. With the typical American using 350 to 500 plastic bags every year, the problem is only going to grow unless we come up with solutions as a community--solutions that are effective in both pollution control and cost reduction," said Terri Thomas, Education and Outreach Specialist with the county's Solid Waste Division.

Staff from the county's Solid Waste Division will be meeting with city councils throughout Thurston County in the coming months to brief them on the report and its recommendations, and to ask for feedback on the report.

You can read the report at www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/plastics and find links to other information, including a more in-depth report on the survey and its results, information on other plastic waste and the impact plastic has on our environment, and you can sign up to get email updates on this project and other Thurston County Solid Waste information. Dates and times for the city council briefings will also be posted to the page once they're scheduled.

For more information on the report or the county's solid waste outreach programs, contact Terri Thomas, Education and Outreach Specialist for the county's Solid Waste Division, at (360) 867-2279 or thomaste@co.thurston.wa.us.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3