Plastic bags

ANACORTES — Retail businesses of all sizes in Anacortes will be prohibited from using single-use plastic carryout bags following a vote Monday by the Anacortes City Council.

The council voted unanimously to ban single-use plastic bags, and add a 10 cent charge for both paper bags and reusable plastic bags. Council members Bruce McDougall and Matt Miller were absent.

The ban is set to take effect in six months.

The ban applies to single-use plastic bags provided to customers at the check stand, cash register or point of sale, and does not include carryout bags used to transport take-out foods, or bags used to package bulk items, produce, meat or fish, among other items.

Residents commented last week that a ban would help cut down on plastic waste that ends up in marine waters and threatens marine life, and many said they favored a fee on paper bags to incentivize shoppers to bring reusable bags from home. A representative from the Northwest Grocery Association also spoke in support of the ban.

The ban applies to retail stores of all sizes, not just those 10,000 square feet or larger as an earlier version of the ordinance had proposed.

Council members said a larger conversation was needed on moving away from more single-use plastics.

“We also need to change our behavior, and plastic bags are one part of it,” Councilwoman Carolyn Moulton said. “We need to think of our use of disposable items, including plastic bags, and I think this is a great step in the right direction.”

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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