Delayed due to Covid, now starting October 1, state law prohibits single-use plastic carryout bags in all retail and grocery stores, restaurants, takeout establishments, festivals, and markets. If customers seek a bag, they may pay an 8-cent charge for a recycled-content paper bag or heavier-duty film plastic bag. 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 Assitance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Assistance Program (FAP).
Why did the state legislature pass this law?
- Currently, Washingtonians use 2 billion single-use plastic bags per year
- Plastic bags contain chemicals that are toxic when released into the environment
- Plastic pollution poses both physical and chemical threats to the marine environment
- Plastic bags are a big problem in the recycling system
- Reusable bags or recyclable paper bags are readily available
Consumers are encouraged to bring reusable bags; stores may ask customers to bag their own groceries.