Bring Your Own Bag - Plastic Bag Ban

Washington's Statewide Plastic Bag Ban Begins January 1, 2021

Plastic bags are a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling centers, waterways, roadways, and environment. Washington's Plastic Bag Ban reduces pollution by prohibiting single-use plastic carryout bags and charging a fee for acceptable bags in business establishments beginning January 2021. 

Visit Washington’s Plastic Bag Ban webpage for information, frequently asked questions, and tools for businesses. 

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State Ban Replaces Local Ban

Washington's Plastic Bag Ban replaces the Kitsap County Reusable Bag Ordinance. Luckily, the state's plastic bag ban is similar to our local ordinance. Kitsap residents and businesses can go back to the reusable bag habits they developed before COVID-19.

Residents

  • Bring your own clean, reusable bags. Some stores may ask you to bag your own groceries if you bring reusable bags.

  • Prepare to pay at least eight cents for paper or thick plastic carryout bags. Stores may charge more than eight cents.

  • The fee may not be collected from anyone using a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women's Infants and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Assistance Program (FAP).

Businesses

  • Applies to restaurants, grocery, retail and convenience stores, farmers markets, food trucks, temporary stores, and home delivery services.

  • Food banks and food assistance programs are exempt. However, they are encouraged to reduce the use of single-use plastic carryout bags.

  • Stores must charge a minimum of 8 cents for large paper and reusable plastic carryout bags.

  • The carryout bag charge is a taxable retail sale.

The Department of Ecology offers more details on how the bag ban affects different food service and retail businesses.


"Using reusable bags isn't any more dangerous than using plastic bags, [said Dr. Marilyn Roberts, a University of Washington School of Public Health microbiologist]… For shoppers concerned about the safety of using reusable bags, Roberts recommends bagging your own groceries at the store and washing your bags once you get home."

Vosler, Christian. "Grocery stores return to reusable bags as statewide ban on plastic bags looms." Kitsap Sun. 23 Nov. 2020


Recycling Plastic Bags

Plastic shopping bags are accepted for recycling at many grocery stores. Visit plasticfilmrecycling.org for locations. Plastic film is primarily used to manufacture plastic lumber products.


Local Plastic Bag Ban History

Enforcement

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many local municipalities stopped enforcing the plastic bag bans. Local retailers can provide thin plastic carryout bags to their customers during the pause in enforcement. Retailers can choose to charge customers for carryout bags as a retail item. 

On January 1, 2021, the statewide ban goes into effect and enforcement will resume across Kitsap County. For the latest information about the state ban, visit Washington’s Plastic Bag Ban webpage. 


Local Outreach 

Our past efforts to prepare the community for the Kitsap County reusable Bag Ordinance help our residents transition to a statewide ban.

Starting in 2019, Kitsap County Solid Waste attended 47 local events to educate people about the upcoming local reusable bag ordinance. We also provided educational material and reusable bags to local groups and organizations who wanted to spread the word. As a result, over 23,000 bags were given to Kitsap County residents.

We are proud of our regional efforts in 2019 and 2020 to encourage the use of reusable bags throughout Kitsap County.


Shared Vision

Cities in Kitsap, the County and Washington State share the vision of reducing the pollution to our land and water by encouraging reusable bags.

On August 12, 2019, Kitsap Board of County Commissioners adopted the Kitsap County reusable bag ordinance (PDF). This local ordinance went into effect on January 1,2020. 



Leading the way in Kitsap, Bainbridge Island began its small circle of impact as the first local community to promote reusable bag use in 2012. By 2020, that circle grew wider as the rest of Kitsap County adopted their own ordinances. Now, joining as the 9th state in the U.S. to ban plastic bags, Washington’s statewide ban expands the circle of impact even more, encompassing all of Washington’s shores. While you beachcomb for glass or watch the harbor seals from the shores of Point No Point, remember that we can all do our part to preserve Washington’s natural beauty. Bring your own bag!


​Contact

For details on Washington's Bag Ban, visit

Department of Ecology