Single-use bag ban delayed until Jan. 30, 2021

Single-use bag ban delayed until Jan. 30, 2021 https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Depositphotos_320550666_web.jpg

On Dec. 18, Gov. Jay Inslee delayed the implementation of the single-use bag ban until Jan. 30, 2021.

The ban had been set to take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

This proclamation gives the association’s State Government Affairs Team a short window in this legislative session to further delay implementation of this ban until July 1, 2021.

According to a news release from the Governor’s Office, the governor is delaying the new law’s implementation because of supply issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which are affecting the ability to procure alternative bags, including:

  • Increased demand for paper and thicker plastic bags, because of increased demand for take-out and groceries
  • Retailers asking customers not to bring bags from home to protect workers
  • Thicker plastic bag manufacturers transitioning facilities to manufacture hospital gowns and other personal protective equipment

Upcoming Bag Ban Details

Last year, the legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

  • There are some exemptions for food establishments to use single-use bags that do not have handles and smaller paper bags to prevent cross-contamination with ready-to-eat foods:
    • Bags that contain or wrap items where dampness or sanitation might be a problem, including but not limited to frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, potted plants are exempt.
    • Bags that contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods are exempt.
    • Bags that protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items are exempt.
  • Food establishments must charge an $0.08 fee on any thicker (2.25 mil) plastic bag or a larger paper bag (1/8 barrel bag).
  • Food establishments providing a thicker plastic or larger paper bag must collect an $0.08 fee and keep the entirety of the fee.
  • Sales tax on the $0.08 applies, and businesses can deduct the collected fees from their B&O tax.
  • This statewide ban supersedes all local ordinances, except in those jurisdictions where the implemented fee is $0.10. In those cases, businesses will need to charge $0.10 for the thicker plastic and bigger paper bags.

Cities where the fee is $0.10:

  • Bingen
  • Burien
  • Lake Forest Park
  • Snohomish
  • White Salmon

Businesses can use existing inventory until gone. You can stock up on single-use plastic bags now, and without penalty, you can use them until they are gone.

The Department of Ecology is the enforcing agency, and it will focus on education rather than enforcement in the first year.

More information from the Department of Ecology can be found here.

Click here to read the bill in its entirety.

If you have questions, please contact Samantha Louderback at SamanthaL@wahospitality.org.