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December 2011
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CityLink Seattle

Plastic Bag Ban Questions

The Seattle City Council recently unanimously voted to ban plastic carry-out bags.

Why ban plastic bags?

Plastic bags have a negative effect on the health of Puget Sound, especially marine wildlife. Seattleites alone use approximately 292 million plastic bags annually, only 13% of which are recycled.

When will the ban take effect?

July 1, 2012.

Won’t people just use paper bags instead?

No, the new ordinance encourages the use of reusable shopping bags by requiring grocers and retailers to charge a nickel for paper bags.

Is Seattle alone in banning plastic bags?

No, we are the fourth city in Washington to ban plastic bags following Edmonds, Bellingham, and, most recently, Mukilteo.

Are all plastic bags banned?

Banned: carry-out shopping bags, thin retail bags

Still allowed: newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning bags, bulk food bags,  takeout food vendor bags