Single-use plastic bag ban begins Oct. 1 in Washington

Photo courtesy WSDOE.

Washingtonians will begin to see fewer plastic bags littering the state’s roadsides, parks, and streams beginning Oct. 1 when the statewide plastic bag ban goes into effect, prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags by restaurants, retail, small vendors and grocery stores.

The ban had been originally scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2021, but the limited availability of compliant bags prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to delay it through a proclamation. The proclamation was recently rescinded.

“Single-use plastic bags are not easily recyclable, which makes managing them at the end of their lives almost impossible,” said Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program. “Reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams, and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”

Plastic bags are a common form of pollution that threatens human health, wildlife, and the environment. Harmful chemicals are released when plastics are produced, used, incinerated, or slowly disintegrate into microscopic particles. Plastic bags are also a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling system that clog sorting machines and put worker safety at risk.

Ecology recommends people invest in reusable bags for groceries or to carry out food from restaurants. Like any reusable item, reusable bags should be washed and properly stored after each use.

If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags offered by a merchant, the law requires the business charge 8 cents per bag. That 8-cent-charge is not a tax; it is a sale kept entirely by the merchant to provide an incentive for customers to bring their own bags and to recoup the costs for the more durable compliant bags.

Food banks and pantries, and individuals receiving food stamps, WIC, SNAP, or other government assistance are not subject to the 8-cent charge. Some single-use plastic bags are exempt from the law, including plastics to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.

Accessible toolkits available in 17 languages

Ecology is focused on education and communication with business owners. Helping all Washingtonians understand important details of the new law will benefit stores and customers, and ease the statewide transition to reusable bags. That’s why Ecology and partners developed an outreach toolkit formatted for accessibility and available in 17 languages.

Toolkits include a variety of materials that are customizable for individual restaurants and retailers, including flyers, Bring-Your-Own-Bag and point-of-sale signage, and web graphics. They are available for download in PDF and InDesign formats so they can be branded, printed, and shared by businesses and local governments.

Visit ecology.wa.gov/bag-ban for more information, tools and resources, and a complete listing of requirements of Washington’s statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

The Washington Legislature has been focused on reducing the use of single-use plastics in the state for several years. In 2021, a new law aimed at doing just that was passed. Ecology is implementing the new law. It will increase recycled content in bottles and trash bags, and drive development of new markets for Washington’s recyclable plastic.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

t
Flu vaccine offers best defense for people this season

State Department of Health recommends getting a shot

Eric Gunderson. COURTESY PHOTO, Washington State Patrol
Trooper Eric Gunderson’s family issues statement about his death from COVID-19

Press release answers inquiries about his vaccination status

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Courtesy photo
King County woman dies from ‘rare’ Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine blood clot

The woman received her shot on Aug. 26 and died in early September, according to public health.

Courtesy Photo, King County
New King County program connects homeless people to jobs and housing

Temporary jobs at county parks for $20 to $25 per hour

Courtesy Photo, UW Medicine
Booster shots build onto protection of initial vaccinations | UW Medicine

People 65 years and older among those who qualify for shots

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

T
King County’s unemployment rate lower than most of Washington

South King County has been slower to recover compared to North King County.

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Courtesy Photo, Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle to require vaccinations for employees

2,200 workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 15