Plastic bag ban in Washington will begin Oct. 1

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Washington state’s plastic bag ban, which was originally scheduled to begin at the first of this year, will go into effect Oct. 1, the state Department of Ecology said today.

The bag ban, passed by the legislature in 2020, prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags by grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores and small vendors.

Businesses are required to charge customers 8 cents for each compliant plastic or paper bag they use.

Implementation of the ban was delayed by Gov. Jay Inslee, who cited the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program. “Reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams, and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”

Ecology is encouraging people to use reusable bags when shopping or buying take-out food.