The Bothell City Council is considering restricting single-use plastic bags as part of their goals for 2019-2020. Like many surrounding cities, a new ordinance could mean that plastic bags will no longer be given out at checkout in stores. Shoppers may need to bring their own reusable bag or pay for a paper bag.
Currently, 32 jurisdictions in Washington have restrictions on single-use plastic bags, including our neighbors Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Kirkland. Additionally, over 300 cities across the US, seven states, five US territories, and over 120 countries regulate single-use plastic bags.
Why restrict single-use plastic bags?
Protect the environment
Plastics never fully degrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces but remaining in our soil and waterways. Even in our landfill, it takes up to 1000 years for plastic bags to break down.
Plastic bags increase litter in our parks and open spaces.
Starting in 2020, plastic bags will not be accepted in curbside recycling bins. If they do end up in recycling bins, plastic bags get tangled in sorting machinery, causing the sorting process to stop. Not only does this slow down the process but workers have to repel into the equipment to physically untangle plastic bags.