Responding to growing plastic bag pollution, the Washington State Legislature in 2020 passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags that is scheduled to take effect on October 1. This new law supersedes the City's "Bring Your Own Bag" Ordinance.
The new State law was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2021, but was delayed due to COVID-19 precautions. Once the new law goes into effect, Washington state will:
- Prohibit single-use plastic carryout bags in all retail and grocery stores, restaurants, takeout establishments, festivals, and markets.
- Require an 8-cent charge for all recycled content paper carryout bags and reusable carryout bags made of film plastic.
- The fee may not be collected from anyone using a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Assistance Program (FAP).
- Require a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer recycled content and meet composting requirements in all retail-provided paper bags.
- Require that a reusable bag made of plastic film contain 20 percent post-consumer recycled content and be at least 2.25 mil thick.
- Require compliant paper and reusable plastic film bags to be labeled with the above specifications
- Create consistent policy and fees across the state.
- This ban does not apply to food banks and food assistance programs, however, those programs are encouraged to take actions to reduce the use of single-use plastic carryout bags.
For more details, please visit the Department of Ecology's website.
The City's Single Use Food Serviceware and Litter Reduction Ordinance remains in place, but the ordinance is suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.