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Seattle City Council Approves 20-Cent Shopping Bag Fee
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In a 6-1 vote, the Seattle City Council has approved a 20-cent per bag charge on disposable paper or plastic shopping bags provided at convenience, drug and grocery stores.

The object of the controversial plan is to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags and cut down on waste.

City officials estimate Seattleites use 360 million paper or plastic bags each year.

City Council President Richard Conlin said the ban would help marine mammals in Puget Sound, reduce litter and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The council also approved in a 7-0 vote a ban on certain styrofoam containers.

The ban is slated to go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.