State Legislature bans single-use plastic bags

Measure stopping free single-use plastic bags passes

OLYMPIA — Consumers will need to remember to bring their own reusable shopping bags if they want to avoid the fee that a new law will put on plastic bags.

Senate Bill 5323 will ban retailers and grocers from handing out single-use plastic bags for free. Shoppers will instead be offered a reusable carry-out bag at check out for an 8 cent fee.

“We have been working to deal with the plastic blob in the Pacific Ocean for a decade now,” said Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, chair of the House Finance Committee. “There is no perfect tax policy to figure out how to induce change behavior to stop using plastic bags. … I really hope that we can convene a solution to how we combine tax policy with the environmental policies to achieve the objective of banning plastic bags.”

After passing in the House last week, the bill was heard a final time in the Senate on Monday and now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

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This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

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