Charges coming for plastic bags at local businesses

Residents may have noticed local businesses beginning to charge for bags while shopping, and can expect this change to be in place throughout the state soon.

In 2020 a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags was passed out of the Legislative Session.

The bill was aimed at reducing pollution from plastic bags and established minimum state standards for the use of bags at retail establishments.

The legislation was intended to reduce the use of plastics to “reduce waste, litter, and marine pollution” 

Under the legislation, starting January 1, 2021 the new rules were set to take place.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued extensions on 26 emergency proclamations, including an extension to the delay of bag ban implementation.

This week, Gov. Inslee rescinded that extension, saying that starting on October 1, the plastic bag ban will go into effect.

Residents have reported that some local businesses in Grays Harbor have already begun enacting the change.

Under the new law, retail businesses may not give residents a single-use plastic carryout bag, or a plastic bag that does not meet certain recycled material requirements.

Through 2025, businesses must charge 8-cents for every recycled paper carryout bag. Beginning in 2026, that change increases to 12-cents.

Certain plastic bags used for meat, fruit, flowers, small hardware items, laundry, and limited other uses are  exempt from the change.

Businesses must track all bag charges.

Cities and counties that already had plastic bag rules in place are preempted by the new law.