Plastic bags photo

OLYMPIA - The Senate Energy and Technology Committee passed SB 5323 on Thursday, which is aimed at reducing plastic bag pollution in the state. If the bill goes into law, single-use plastic bags will be banned.

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries. We thank Sen. Mona Das for sponsoring this important piece of legislation and the Senators on the committee who voted in support of this bill for recognizing that the time to take action to reduce single-use plastics is now,” Environment Washington Director Bruce Speight stated.

The state of California banned single-use plastic bags in 2016. According to the Seattle Times, in California, plastic bags accounted for more than 7.4 percent of litter collected on beaches during the state’s 2010 Coastal Cleanup Day. That number dropped to 3.1 percent in 2017, down from 3.4 percent in 2016.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has estimated that over 100,000 whales, seals, and turtles die every year as a result of eating or being trapped by plastic bags.

The bill now heads to the House Energy and Environment Committee for consideration. A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, February 7.

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