Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed a 20-cent fee for both paper and plastic bags in grocery, convenience, and drug stores in the city to discourage their use. “The answer to the question ‘Paper or plastic?’ should be ‘Neither,'” Nickels said. “Both harm the environment. Every piece of plastic ever made is still with us in the environment, and the best way to handle waste is not to create it in the first place.” Stores that make less than $1 million a year would keep all of the 20-cent fee while in more profitable establishments 15 cents of the fee would go toward city programs to reduce waste and promote recycling. If the city council approves it, the program would begin Jan. 1. On average, Seattleites use an estimated 360 million disposable bags a year.

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