OLYMPIA — The state Senate has passed a bill aimed at reducing pollution by prohibiting retailers in Washington from handing out single-use plastic bags.
Senate Bill 5323 passed on a vote of 31 to 14 and now heads to the House for consideration.
First-year Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, sponsored the bill, which she said is supported by retailers and environmentalists.
The bill would prohibit retailers — including grocers — from handing out thin, single-use plastic bags. They would be able to provide paper bags or durable, reusable plastic bags for 8 cents each. The charge would help retailers recover the costs of the paper or durable plastic bags, and create an incentive for shoppers to bring their own bags.
People using the State Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Women, Infants and Children and/or the state Food Assistance Program would not be subject to the fee.
Reusable bags would have to meet standards for strength, durability and recycled content. Shoppers who bring their own reusable bags would not be charged.