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.

Screenshot taken from Washington Department of Ecology website.

Screenshot taken from Washington Department of Ecology website.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, a statewide ban of single-use plastic bags will go into effect in Washington. Here’s what you need to know.

People in Washington use two billion single-use plastic bags every year, according to the Department of Ecology. Those single-use plastic bags are a major contaminant of Washington’s rivers, streams, roads and basically everything else, according to the department.

The single-use bags contain toxic chemicals that are released into the environment if not properly disposed. Due to their thin construction, single-use bags are difficult to recycle, meaning many end up in landfills or worse.

In order to combat the negative effects of this pollution on the environment, the Legislature decided to ban single use plastic bags in 2020. COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain for alternative bags, so Gov. Jay Inslee delayed the implementation of the ban until Oct. 1, 2021.

So starting Oct. 1, restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers will no longer be allowed to use single-use bags, according to the Department of Ecology. Instead, businesses will be required to charge an 8-cent fee for reusable plastic bags and recycled paper bags. Another option for businesses is to use brown or green “compostable” plastic bags for an optional fee.

The reusable plastic bags must be at least 2.25 millimeters or about ninety-thousandths of an inch thick, and must be made of at least 20% recycled materials. The paper bags must be made of at least 40% recycled material.

The 8-cent fee won’t be applied to customers who use food vouchers such as SNAP and WIC. The ban does not apply to single-use plastic bags used for produce, baked or prepared foods, flowers, plants or meat, according to the Department of Ecology.

Shoppers can also bring their own reusable grocery bags instead of using a paper or reusable plastic bag.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Google Images
Racial disparities in bike helmet law forces decision by King County health board

On Oct. 21, the King County Board of Health discussed striking down… Continue reading

t
SeaTac girl faces additional hit-and-run charges

Same driver who reportedly killed Maple Valley jogger also injured man in Des Moines

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

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Most Read