Clark County Green Business hosted an informational Bag Ban Forum for Businesses on Dec. 8, 2020. Shannon Jones, the Materials Management Coordinator from the Washington Department of Ecology, presented an enlightening PowerPoint slideshow reviewing the ins and outs of the bag ban law. The first phase of this five-year transition requires all retail and food establishments charge an 8-cent fee on all paper and plastic bags, prohibits thin single-use plastic bags, mandates 40% post-consumer recycled content in paper bags, and requires 20% post-consumer content in plastic bags at least 2.25 mil thicker than standard plastic bags. This fee will increase to 12 cents in the years to come.
The ban was intended to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain difficulties, the bag ban has been delayed until late January 2021, with potential to be delayed further until the summer of 2021.
Many Washington cities already have local bag bans, meaning, this law would create statewide consistency. The law was inspired by the public, lobbyist groups, and state waste reduction goals. It aims to benefit businesses by providing consistency in statewide policy, lowering safety issues at recycling centers, and allowing businesses to regain the cost of providing bags.
Clark County Green Business is available to assist businesses with outreach, signage, and employee education. You are welcome to email with any questions. You can find commonly asked questions from the forum on the Clark County's Bag Ban FAQ page.