Keep Plastic out of Puget Sound

Marine life in danger

Plastic pollution is a growing problem for Puget Sound and the marine wildlife that inhabit it.  In 2010, there was a beached gray whale found in West Seattle with 20 plastic bags in its stomach.

Puget Sound is an icon of Western Washington and home to a diverse host of marine wildlife.  Orcas and other whales, sea otter, sea turtles and a wide variety of birds are just a few examples of the life that are affected by plastic pollution.  Plastic bags can be fatal to marine wildlife; they can ingest them, choke on them or be harmed by the toxins in the plastic. 

Washington uses more than 2 billion plastic bags, and less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled.  That means that too many of these bags are making their way into the Sound. 

Of course, the companies that make and sell 2 billion bags to Washington State are fighting to maintain the status quo, fronted by the lobbying team from the American Chemistry Council. The ACC spent a whopping $1.4 million in 2009 to defeat an ordinance that would have put a fee on plastic bags in Seattle.  But we need to do what is best for Puget Sound marine wildlife.

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

The first thing to do when your bathtub is overflowing is to turn the water off: It is time to turn the trash faucet off so we can start the clean up.

The solution is simple: we need to ban plastic bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans for hundreds of years.

Washingtonians know this, and are taking action to protect the Sound. In 2011, four Washington cities voted to ban plastic bags - Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and thanks in part to our work Seattle voted unanimously to ban plastic bags in December!  Plastic bag bans are on the table in Bellevue, Bainbridge Island, and Olympia.

We can ban plastic bags statewide and be the first state in the country to do it. 

You can help by contacting your state representative and ask him or her to ban plastic bags in Washington.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Oceans

Seattle City Council Votes to Ban Plastic Bags!

Congratulations!  Seattle City Council voted to ban plastic bags citywide. 

Plastic pollution in Puget Sound harms wildlife because animals can ingest plastic bags, choke on it them or be harmed by toxins. Last year, a beached grey whale was found in West Seattle with 20 plastic bags in its stomach, highlighting this terrible problem.


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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Corporate, Democracy, Energy, Energy Service Corps, Higher Ed, Hunger, Oceans, Sustainability

Interns Get It Done! | Brian Moe

The last few weeks have brought some impressive victories for Washingtonians:  Seattle city council voted to ban plastic bags and today the President announced that Richard Cordray will be the director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB will rein in the bad business practices of banks, lenders, and credit card companies.  This is a huge victory for students and consumers. 

Of course, we still have a lot of work to do to fix some big problems - stop global warming, end poverty, reform our democracy, and more. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Corporate, Democracy, Energy, Energy Service Corps, Higher Ed, Oceans, Sustainability, Textbooks, Transit

We Couldn't Have Done it Without You | Brian Moe

Thank you, and everyone we’ve worked with, for being part of WashPIRG and helping to accomplish a lot in 2011.

This year, WashPIRG students:

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Resource | Oceans

Great Pacific Clean-up Project Packet


Download this resource for everything you need to know to organize the oceans campaign on your campus.

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