WR asks Governor to delay plastic bag ban

Dec 17, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

This year the Legislature passed a statewide single use plastic bag ban that goes into effect January 1, 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, WR is asking the Governor to delay the new law until the pandemic subsides.

The trouble is that supply chains have been significantly disrupted with the demand for paper products. This is making it difficult for retailers to reliably source paper bags.  The Governor has not committed to delaying the effective date, although he has indicated he may make a decision by the end of the year.

The bag ban will be enforced by the Department of Ecology. Businesses will be allowed to exhaust their existing supplies of plastic bags for up to a year – unless prohibited by local ordinance.

Businesses will be required to either provide recycled content paper bags or thicker, reusable plastic bags both with an 8-cent charge per bag or provide compostable bags free of charge. Customers also will be allowed to use their own shopping bags.

For more details, go to the DOE website at: https://ecology.wa.gov/Waste-Toxics/Reducing-recycling-waste/Plastic-bag-ban

A downloadable and customizable toolkit of outreach materials is available for business owners and the public to understand the most critical elements of the statewide bag ban. This toolkit is available on the Ecology Bag Ban Webpage and will be translated into 23 different languages in the next few months.

Here is the full law:  upcoming statewide ban on single-use plastic bags (RCW 70A.530).