If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags from a company, the ban requires the company to charge eight cents per bag.
SEATTLE – Single-use plastic bags will be banned in Washington state from October 1st.
The state Department of the Environment (DEC) announced the date on Wednesday after a proclamation of the COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted by Governor Jay Inslee to delay the ban.
The ban was originally supposed to come into force on January 1st. It officially prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic bags, which are most commonly used by grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants.
“Single-use plastic bags are not easily recyclable, making them nearly impossible to dispose of at the end of their life,” said Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program.
According to the DEC, the bags are a common form of pollution that threatens the health of wildlife, the environment and even humans.
When chemicals are released from the production, use, incineration, and even the slow breakdown of plastic bags, they pose a threat to organic life.
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In addition, plastic bags are made more difficult to recycle because they are more of a pollution due to the clogging of sorting machines in the recycling system, which in turn poses a hazard to workers.
Davies believes the removal of single-use plastic bags will have a significant impact on the environment and the state’s recycling system. She stated, “Reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”
The DEC said Washington residents should invest in reusable grocery bags to carry groceries from restaurants and groceries from stores.
If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags from a company, the ban requires the company to charge eight cents per bag that goes back to the company as part of the sale.
Plastic bags exempt from the law include plastic for wrapping meat and produce, bags for prescriptions, and bags for newspapers and dry cleaning.
Additional efforts by the state to reduce single-use plastics include new laws, enacted May 17 by Governor Jay Inslee, that will increase the amount of recycling in bottles and trash bags.