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If you’re not into the whole reusable bag thing, be prepared to fork out some loose change for non-plastic bags at all grocery and retail stores in Washington next year.

Washington’s single-use plastic bag ban takes effect January 1, 2021.

“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,” the Department of Ecology stated on its website.

Single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at stores; large recyclable paper carryout bags will be available for a 8-cent fee per bag. In addition, some stores will offer thick reusable plastic carryout bags for a 8-cent fee, and others may offer fee-optional green or brown compostable bags.

The Washington State Legislature passed the statewide ban in 2020 due to the growing plastic bag pollution.

The Department of Ecology issued the following about the use of plastic bags on its website:

  • Every year Washingtonians use 2 billion single-use plastic bags
  • Plastic bags are a big problem in the recycling system
  • Plastic bags contain toxic chemicals
  • Plastic bags cost retailers money
  • Plastic pollution poses both physical and chemical threats to the marine environment
  • Reusable bags or recyclable paper bags are a better alternative

The ban does not apply to food banks and food assistance programs, but these  programs are encouraged to take actions to reduce the use of single-use plastic carryout bags.

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