Curfews in effect for Puget Sound cities; Inslee activates National Guard

Washington governor signs bill to ban single-use plastic bags

Plastic bags full of groceries in the trunk of a car. (Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A law that will ban single-use plastic bags in the state was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee, in what he called “a victory for our environment.”

The legislation, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, bans retailers from giving out single-use plastic carryout bags and requires an 8-cent charge for other bags.

KREM-TV reported the 8-cent charge would help stores cover the cost of paper or reusable bags and create an incentive for shoppers to bring their own bags.

The fee would increase to 12 cents in 2026.

The legislation also requires paper bags to be made from 40% recycled material.

Under the legislation, carryout bags do not include those used by consumers inside stores to package bulk items; contain or wrap items where dampness or sanitation may be a problem; and newspaper bags, mailing pouches or sealed envelopes, among others.

Some conservative lawmakers supported the Democrat-sponsored legislation in the hopes it will create paper bag demand for Washington’s pulp and paper industry.

Opponents of the legislation argued that bags can help reduce the potential spread of coronavirus in grocery stores and other retail shops.

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