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Plastic Bag Ban
The Issaquah City Council recently adopted an ordinance that bans single-use, plastic carryout bags at retail stores.

The plastic bag ban took effect in 2013 and is following a phased approach, applying to larger retailers March 1, 2013, and smaller retailers July 1, 2014.

What the ordinance does
  • Prohibits retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout bags.
  • Retail stores may provide any size paper or reusable carryout bag.
  • Requires retail stores to charge a minimum 5 cents per bag for larger single-use, paper carryout bags provided to customers (1/8 barrel or larger, or about 882 cubic inches). Larger paper bags must contain at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.
  • Retailers are allowed to retain the paper bag charge to help offset the cost of bags. The charge also helps provide an incentive to the customer to reduce paper bag use.
  • Requires all paper bag charges to be itemized on the customer receipts.
  • Provides for fines of $250 for violations.
  • Several exemptions include:
    • Plastic bags are allowed for meat; bulk foods; fruits and vegetables; flowers; small hardware items; newspaper bags; dry cleaning; bakery goods and similar items
    • Plastic bags for take-out food from food service establishments.
    • Services for low-income households; food banks. State or federal financial assistance program beneficiaries are exempt from the 5 cent paper bag charge.

Businesses may apply for temporary waivers from the ordinance.

The ordinance is modeled after similar requirements adopted in Seattle, Bellingham, Bainbridge Island, Edmonds and Mukilteo.