Washington’s single-use plastic bag ban

Plastic bags are a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling facilities, waterways, roadways, and environment. Washington’s Plastic Bag Ban will reduce pollution by prohibiting single-use plastic carryout bags and charging a fee for acceptable bags in business establishments beginning in January 2021.

During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, an effort to reduce plastic pollution, litter, and waste.

This ban will also benefit Washington’s recycling system:

  • Reducing contamination in the recycling and compost systems
  • Promoting reuse and recycled content
  • Building consistency in policy and enforcement across the state
  • Supporting the recycled paper industry

As Washington transitions away from single-use plastic bags, we will continue to provide technical assistance, education, and outreach materials to businesses and the public. We collaborated with local governments, retailers, business associations, and non-profits to begin this effort, and have developed a bag ban outreach toolkit that is formatted for accessibility and available in 17 languages.

When the bag ban goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2021, anyone may submit an observation of businesses not in compliance with the new requirements using our reporting form. We will use this information to follow up with businesses to ensure their understanding of the new law. Repeated non-compliance may result in penalties.

Bag ban becomes effective Oct. 1, 2021

Due to supply chain issues of compliant bags during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee delayed implementation of the bag ban. On July 13, the Governor rescinded the proclamation and set the single-use plastic bag ban effective date for Oct. 1, 2021.

Although the ban is not yet in effect, we encourage businesses to begin compliance with the law’s new requirements. However, businesses are not required to do so until October 1.

More information found here.