The Kenmore City Council is considering the value of a new city ordinance to encourage the use of reusable carryout bags in Kenmore.
To be examined and potentially adopted in mid-late July, the policy could prohibit retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout and require they charge a 5-cent fee for each paper bag supplied. This fee is not collected by the city.
In Kenmore, we value our natural resources and our 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 storm drains, local water, and the ocean. This litter, along with the environmental cost of producing billions of plastic bags each year, is a global, national, state, and local issue. The city council is considering what our role could and should be on this topic.
City staff briefed City Council on June 11, and presented background information and examples of different city ordinances. In some cities, retailers are prohibited from providing plastic bags and apply a 5-cent “pass-through” charge for each paper bag supplied. In others, plastic bags are prohibited and there is no fee on recyclable paper bags.
In perhaps the most comprehensive policy, in some areas stores do not provide plastic or paper bags at all and customers provide their own bags. Often, ordinances include 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.
The public hearing will be held on July 9 at 7 p.m. and city staff want to hear from the community. Staff is engaging directly with retailers who would be affected by a reusable bag ordinance.
A public hearing will be held at Kenmore City Hall during the the July 9 city council meeting. City Council will likely make a decision on the ordinance in mid-late July. Should the Council adopt the ordinance as written, the new regulations could go into effect as soon as Jan. 1, 2019. Locals can learn more and view the proposed ordinance language on the Kenmore website.
If you have input or questions and are not able to attend on July 9th, please reach out to Jack Urquhart, JUrquhart@kenmorewa.gov, and continue to follow the item on upcoming Council meeting agendas at www.kenmore.gov/council.