Seattle officials vote to ban plastic bags

SEATTLE (AP) ? Seattle officials have voted to ban single-use plastic bags from groceries and other retail stores.

The ordinance includes a nickel fee on the use of paper bags from stores. It was passed by a unanimous vote at the city council’s Monday meeting.

The ordinance was expected to pass after seven of nine council members sponsored the bill.

The city’s residents use 292 million plastic bags a year. The ban is expected to reduce pollution, free up landfill space and improve the environment.

Nearby communities such as Mukilteo, Edmonds, Bellingham and Portland have banned plastic bags.

The council voted to charge a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2008, but the plastics industry spent $1.4 million backing a referendum to overturn it. Voters defeated that fee in 2009.