Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)

Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service

In an attempt to reduce plastic pollution, a bill banning retailers from handing out free single-use plastic bags in the state of Washington is moving forward in the Legislature.

The bill, SB 5323, was passed by the Senate with a vote of 30-19 on Jan. 15, and is now headed to the House for further consideration. If the bill becomes law, shoppers will have to either bring their own bags or pay an 8-cent fee for a reusable carryout plastic bag.

The bill was a one-party proposal, made by the Democrats, and received the support of two Republicans voting yes. One Democrat voted no.

“Plastic pollution is a huge problem in our state,” said Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the bill’s primary sponsor.

This is a statewide issue as well as a worldwide problem that is having a huge negative impact on our environment and wildlife, Sen. Das said.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, refers to it as a “modest, but genuine step forward” in reducing the state’s single-use plastic consumption, which he says is an environmentally-harmful addiction we’ve developed and can no longer ignore.

“We are choking,” Sen. Carlyle said.

With single-use plastic bags no longer an option at checkout, consumers would instead be given a choice between paper bags and paying 8 cents each for reusable bags made from film plastic. These new carryout bags would need to meet certain strength, durability, and recyclability standards. The bags must be able to hold 22 pounds over a 175-foot distance, survive at least 125 uses and be washable, according to the original Senate Bill Report.

The goal of the proposed law is not to get an extra 8 cents out of people, but to encourage them to practice more sustainable habits and remind consumers to bring their own bags, said Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, another co-sponsor of the bill.

The 8-cent fee is intended to motivate shoppers to bring their own bags, but also takes the burden off of retailers by compensating for the cost of the new, stronger carryout bags. Shoppers who rely on food stamps, or other food or nutritional assistance programs, would not be charged the 8-cent bag fee.

Sen. Kuderer said she takes it as a good sign that the bill passed in the Senate as quickly as it did, and many of the bill’s co-sponsors are hopeful that it will make it through the House of Representatives and onto the floor this session.

More in News

Senate passes Wilson bill to correct timetable for childcare payments

Another bill prohibits solitary confinement of youths

Metro describes benefits of future bus base to city leaders

King County’s population has grown by more than 2 percent every year… Continue reading

Student arrested after bringing gun to Thomas Jefferson High School

Police believe the student discarded the handgun during or at the end of a fight with another student and retrieved it again later in the day.

Schools stage Future Lions Family Fitness Night on Feb. 27

Program includes entertainment, music and activities, fitness dance instruction, games and obstacle courses

From left, social workers Tamara Liebich-Lantz and Carrie Talamaivao, SKFR Capt. Roy Smith and VRFA Firefighter Johan Friis smile for a photo in front of the CARES SUV at the Valley Regional Fire Authority Station 35. Photo courtesy of CARES
South King Fire, Valley Regional Fire CARES for the local community

The Community Assistance, Referrals and Education Services unit fills niche of emergency assistance to help South King County’s most vulnerable populations.

Seattle Police bust Auburn man for possession of illegal drugs and firearms

Seattle Police Department SWAT and narcotics detectives recently arrested a 37-year-old Auburn… Continue reading

Auburn’s local streets in good shape

Collectors and arterials, eh, not so hot

Senate passes Wilson bill to make childcare facilities gun-free zones

Childcare facilities would carry the same prohibitions on deadly weapons as K-12… Continue reading

Most Read