Kenmore Council adopts plastic bag ordinance

The Kenmore City Council adopted a new plastic bag policy effective January 1, 2019 to encourage the use of reusable carryout bags in the city of Kenmore. The policy prohibits retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout and requires they charge a 5-cent fee for each recycled paper bag supplied. This fee is retained by the retailer. The ordinance includes exemptions for in-store specialty bags (for items such as bulk foods, produce, meat, etc.) and bags for prepared foods (restaurant takeout bags), laundry, newspapers, pet waste, garbage bags, and bags where dampness could be an issue. Additionally, low-income residents with electronic vouchers for government programs will be exempted from the 5-cent fee. Plastic straws were not addressed in this ordinance.

Kenmore values natural resources and the comprehensive plan calls for protection of natural and environmentally sensitive areas, open space, trees, air quality, and water quality. Plastic bags that aren’t recycled end up in our landfills and pollute our environment.

For the last few months, City Council has been studying this issue, evaluating different ordinance options, and hearing from the community to determine what action they should take. City staff worked closely with the non-profit Zero Waste Washington and engaged directly with retailers who will be affected by the ordinance. City Council also held a public hearing on July 9 to hear feedback from businesses and residents.

The ordinance language can be viewed here. Over the next few months, city staff will be providing materials and information to retailers and customers informing them of the regulations and compliance date.

For questions and more information contact Becky Range, communications specialist, at brange@kenmorewa.gov or 425-984-6172. This information is available at www.kenmorewa.gov.

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