Washington State Bag Ban

Plastic restrictions

On October 1, 2021, Washington joined over 300 US cities, eight states, five US territories, and over 120 countries in regulating single-use plastic bags. 

Single-use plastic bags are no longer available at checkout. Customers will be charged $0.08 for each paper bag or thick (2.25 mils) plastic bag used. Learn more about the statewide plastic bag ban

Why restrict single-use plastic carryout bags? 

To 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.

To decrease litter

Plastic bags increase litter in our parks and open spaces.

To improve recycling

Plastic bags are not 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.

Instead, find a drop-off location to recycle your plastic bags and film.

Bags tangled in recycling sorting equipment

Reusable Bags

Did you know? Some reusable bags are better for the environment than others. Opt for recycled content and make sure it’s washable. Keep in mind that the best reusable bag is the one you’ll use!

Resources for Businesses

The Department of Ecology offers an outreach toolkit for businesses, including point of sale infographics and flyers. 

Washington Bag Ban Infographic