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January 17, 2012 at 12:01 PM

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Effort to repeal plastic bag ban falls short

The effort to place Seattle's recently adopted plastic bag ban before voters has fallen short.

Craig Keller, who organized a petition drive to place the ban on the August ballot said he collected between 2,000 and 3,000 signatures, far short of the needed 16,000.

"I appreciate everyone who licked a stamp and took the time to mail in a petition, but we don't have enough signatures," Keller said Tuesday. Today was the deadline to turn in signatures to qualify the measure for the August primary election.

Keller spent the past month reaching out to small and independent grocers and convenience stores who, like larger grocers and retailers, will be subject to the ban.

"Most merchants don't know about it and don't have a contingency plan," he said. "it's not going to be welcomed."

The Seattle City Council in December unanimously approved a ban on thin, plastic checkout bags. The measure also requires stores to charge five cents for paper bags to offset the higher cost of paper to stores and to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags.

The ban goes into effect July 1.

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