plastic bags

OLYMPIA - Washington ban on single-use plastic bags is set to go into effect Oct. 1 after months of delays due to COVID-19.

The bag ban prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags by restaurants, retail, small vendor and grocery stores. The ban was originally scheduled to begin Jan. 1 but Gov. Jay Inslee delayed the ban due to limited availability of reusable bags caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

“Single-use plastic bags are not easily recyclable, which makes managing them at the end of their lives almost impossible,” said Laurie Davies, manager of the state Department of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program. “Reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams, and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”

After Oct. 1, large recyclable papery carryout bags will be available for an 8-cent fee per bag.

The state Legislature passed the statewide ban in 2020 due to growing plastic bag pollution.

The ban does not apply to food banks and food assistance programs but the programs are encouraged to reduce the use of plastic bags.