Two billion bags used each year

Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to whales, seals, turtles, salmon and all of Puget Sound’s wildlife. Too much of the trash comes from single-use plastic bags, which can choke, suffocate or kill thousands of whales, birds and other marine wildlife each year. We saw the effects of this last year when a beached gray whale was found in West Seattle with 20 plastic bags in its stomach. Nothing we use for a few minutes should end up in the belly of a whale. 

Yet 2 billion plastic bags are distributed annually throughout Washington state, and nationwide, less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled.

Marine life in danger

Too many of plastic bags end up as litter in Puget Sound, and its creating an ecological disaster:

• Whales and seabirds can ingest floating plastic, mistaking it for food. They also get entangled in bags and can drown or die of suffocation. A beached grey whale was found in West Seattle in 2010 with 20 plastic bags in its stomach.

Adult seabirds inadvertently feed small bits of plastic to their chicks—often causing them to starve to death after their stomachs become filled with plastic.

• Small pieces of plastic can absorb toxic pollutants like DDT and PCB. Scientists have found that fish are ingesting these toxins when they ingest plastic, concentrating the chemicals in the food chain. There is a good chance that we also absorb these pollutants when we eat fish.

What’s really scary is that scientists tell us this plastic may never biodegrade. And every day we go without tackling this problem, it gets worse.

With your help, we can stop the flow of trash and begin the cleanup

The good news is, Washingtonians are taking action to protect the Sound. In 2009, Edmonds became the first city in the state to ban plastic bags. In 2011, six other cities joined the effort. Bellingham, Mukilteo, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Port Townsend, and Issaquah all banned the bag, significantly cutting down on the amount of plastic flowing into Puget Sound. Today, dozens more communities are considering similar legislation, including Olympia. Local bans have an immediate impact and are a great start—but we can’t stop until bags are banned statewide. 

We need you to get involved if we’re going to stop the flow of plastic pollution into the Sound. Your support will make it possible for our staff to do research, make our case to the media, reach out to critical constituencies, testify in Olympia, and educate government officials so that they can make the right choices. If enough of us speak out, we can cut the flow of plastic into Puget Sound by banning disposable plastic bags. Join our campaign by sending your legislators a message today.

Clean water updates

News Release | Environment Washington

Environment Washington Endorses Candidates for 2014 Elections

Environment Washington, a statewide environmental organization, announced today the endorsement of three candidates for federal office in the 2014 elections.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

EPA Proposes Biggest Step for Clean Water in a Decade

Yesterday, in the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave 54% of Washington’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

Issaquah Voters Uphold Plastic Bag Ban

Issaquah voters have shown support for the city's plastic bag ban by voting "no" on Proposition 1, which would have overturned the plastic bag ordinance and is likely to fail.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

Volunteers hit the streets to urge Issaquah to vote no on Proposition 1

In June of 2012, the Issaquah City Council voted in favor of banning single-use plastic grocery bags and the ordinance went into effect March of 2013.  An initiative on the ballot this month, Proposition 1, if passed, would overturn Issaquah’s ban on plastic grocery bags.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Washington

Puget Sound Haunted by Stormwater Runoff, Toxic Dumping

On the shores of Puget Sound, Environment Washington held an event to release “Ten Scary Facts about Puget Sound,” a new factsheet which compiles 10 of the most frightening realities about pollution in the area's most iconic waterway. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed