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No Plastic Bags in Washington

Why a reusable bag bill?

Plastic bags are trash. They are made from nonrenewable oil and gas, clog recycling, become litter and end up in the ocean, absorbing chemicals and harming marine life. We don’t need them.
We’re joining with a state-wide coalition to eliminate plastic shopping bags in Washington. Join us.

loating-plastic
Plastic bags - bad for the planet
(And us, too.)

Not only do plastic bags eat up resources, they fill up our oceans. As they break into smaller pieces, they absorb chemicals, filling the bellies of sea creatures and poisoning the eco-system. Microplastics are everywhere in the food chain – including our tap water.

trumpeter swans on lake
The true cost of plastic
(It's not free.)

On average, Americans use 500 plastic bags each per year. That’s 2 billion in Washington state alone. They cost $4 billion to give to customers, and around $1,000 per ton to remove from recycling. And that’s not counting the long-term cost to our planet’s health.

Come on, Washington.
We can do this.

Already, 27 Washington counties or cities have a reusable bag ordinance. Sixty countries around the world have plastic bag fees or bans. Kroger is phasing them out. It’s time for our state to join the movement! We’re partnering with a coalition of groups from environmental to retail to the food industry to call on our legislators to pass a reusable bag bill (HB1205/SB5323) this legislative session. They include Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, Surfrider Foundation and Zero Waste Washington.
There would be:

  • No more thin “t-shirt” plastic bags at grocery stores and retailers.
  • A 10c charge for paper bags and thick reusable bags. Retailers keep that charge.
  • Produce, newspaper, medication, dry cleaning and some other bags are exempt.
  • All WIC/EBT/TANF participants are fee-exempt.
  • Compostable bags are tinted green or brown. Others are not. No more confusion!
  • Join us! Here’s how to tell your representative how you feel about reducing plastic for our planet.

Step 1: Look up your state senator and representatives (link below).

Sept 2: Email or write them your thoughts. (Need help? Scroll to copy our sample letter.)

Step 3: Join our conservation action email list to find out more!

  • Yes - please sign me up to learn more about conservation actions!

Sample letter:
Dear Senator or Representative (insert name),

I’m one of your constituents, and I’m writing to share my concerns about the threat that plastic bags pose to our marine environment. On average, Americans use 500 plastic bags each year. Besides being made of non-renewable resources, many of them end up as litter and make their way into the ocean. Here, they may entangle or be eaten by ocean animals, including the seafood that we consume. Nothing we use for just a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and threaten wildlife.

I ask you to support HB1205/SB5323 to eliminate the use of thin plastic bags by retailers in Washington. It’s time to unite the 27 different local ordinances into one simple, state-wide law to protect our oceans.

Thank you.