Washington's single-use plastic bag ban
Why ban single use plastic bags:
- Every year Washingtonians use 2 billion single-use plastic bags
- Plastic bags are a big problem in the recycling system
- Plastic bags contain chemicals that are toxic once released into the environment
- Plastic bags cost retailers money
- Plastic pollution poses both physical and chemical threats to the marine environment
- Reusable bags or recyclable paper bags are a better alternative
When the law becomes effective on October 1, it 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% 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% 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. The City repealed its own bag ban (passed in 2019) so as to align with the state law.
- 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.
You can find information on Washington's single-use plastic bag ban including FAQs on the Department of Ecology’s website. Due to supply chain issues of compliant bags during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Jay Inslee delayed implementation of the bag ban. The single-use plastic bag ban will now be effective on Oct. 1, 2021.
Please see the following flyers for retail businesses and restaurants: