Choose reusable bags to help protect the environment! Starting March 1, 2013, single-use plastic bags will no longer be allowed at large Issaquah retailers, such as most grocery, hardware and pharmacy stores. The ban for smaller stores starts a year later.
Some plastic bags will still be allowed, including thicker, more durable check-out bags, or those used for produce/meat, bulk foods, small hardware items, newspapers, dry cleaning, door hangars and take-out food.
Stores are now also required to charge at least 5 cents for most paper carryout bags. Retailers will keep the fee, which will be itemized on customers’ receipt.
Businesses may apply for temporary waivers from the ordinance. Other agencies – including those that provide services for low income households – also have exemptions.
This new ban is modeled after similar requirements adopted in Seattle, Bellingham, Bainbridge Island, Edmonds and Mukilteo.
Issaquah will be helping to support adoption of reusable bags by providing reusable bags to low-income households and the community, and conducting education and outreach for shoppers. Starting Feb. 25, you can pick up a free reusable bag (while supplies last) at the Issaquah CleanScapes store, located at 317 N.W. Gilman Blvd. in Issaquah.
Plastic bags are a global and regional litter concern – particularly in the marine environment – and have very low recovery rates for recycling. While paper bags consume larger amounts of water and energy to produce, they are more readily recyclable (with recovery rates of approximately 80 percent), and are biodegradable.
Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources and do not biodegrade in the environment. An estimated 2 billion disposable plastic bags are used annually in Washington State, and less than 5 percent are recovered for recycling.