70A.530.010  <<  70A.530.020 >>   70A.530.030

Retail establishmentsLimitations on plastic bags.

*** CHANGE IN 2021 *** (SEE 1192.SL) ***
*** CHANGE IN 2021 *** (SEE 1145-S.SL) ***
(1) Beginning January 1, 2021, except as provided in this section and RCW 70A.530.030, a retail establishment may not provide to a customer or a person at an event:
(a) A single-use plastic carryout bag;
(b) A paper carryout bag or reusable carryout bag made of film plastic that does not meet recycled content requirements; or
(c) Beginning January 1, 2026, a reusable carryout bag made of film plastic with a thickness of less than four mils, in the event that the 2025 legislature does not amend this section to reflect the recommendations to the legislature made consistent with RCW 70A.530.060.
(2)(a) A retail establishment may provide a reusable carryout bag or a recycled content paper carryout bag of any size to a customer at the point of sale. A retail establishment may make reusable carryout bags available to customers through sale.
(b)(i) Until December 31, 2025, a retail establishment must collect a pass-through charge of eight cents for every recycled content paper carryout bag with a manufacturer's stated capacity of one-eighth barrel (eight hundred eighty-two cubic inches) or greater or reusable carryout bag made of film plastic it provides, except as provided in subsection (5) of this section and RCW 70A.530.030.
(ii) Beginning January 1, 2026, a retail establishment must collect a pass-through charge of twelve cents for reusable carryout bags made of film plastic and eight cents for recycled content paper carryout bags, in the event that the 2025 legislature does not amend this section to reflect the recommendations to the legislature made consistent with RCW 70A.530.060. It is the intent of the legislature for the 2025 legislature to reassess the amount of the pass-through charge authorized under this subsection (2)(b), taking into consideration the content of the report to the legislature under RCW 70A.530.060.
(c) A retail establishment must keep all revenue from pass-through charges. The pass-through charge is a taxable retail sale. A retail establishment must show all pass-through charges on a receipt provided to the customer.
(3) Carryout bags provided by a retail establishment do not include:
(a) Bags used by consumers inside stores to:
(i) Package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, greeting cards, or small hardware items such as nails, bolts, or screws;
(ii) Contain or wrap items where dampness or sanitation might be a problem including, but not limited to:
(A) Frozen foods;
(B) Meat;
(C) Fish;
(D) Flowers; and
(E) Potted plants;
(iii) Contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods;
(iv) Contain prescription drugs; or
(v) Protect a purchased item from damaging or contaminating other purchased items when placed in a recycled content paper carryout bag or reusable carryout bag; or
(b) Newspaper bags, mailing pouches, sealed envelopes, door hanger bags, laundry/dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags for uses such as food storage, garbage, or pet waste.
(4)(a) Any compostable film bag that a retail establishment provides to customers for products, including for products bagged in stores prior to checkout, must meet the requirements for compostable products and film bags in *chapter 70.360 RCW.
(b) A retail establishment may not use or provide polyethylene or other noncompostable plastic bags for bagging of customer products in stores, as carryout bags, or for home delivery that do not meet the requirements for noncompostable products and film bags in *chapter 70.360 RCW.
(5) Except as provided by local regulations enacted as of April 1, 2020, a retail establishment may provide a bag restricted under subsection (1) of this section from existing inventory until one year after June 11, 2020. The retail establishment, upon request by the department, must provide purchase invoices, distribution receipts, or other information documenting that the bag was acquired prior to June 11, 2020.
(6) For the purposes of this section:
(a) A recycled content paper carryout bag must:
(i) Contain a minimum of forty percent postconsumer recycled materials;
(ii) Be capable of composting, consistent with the timeline and specifications of the entire American society of testing materials D6868 and associated test methods that must be met, as it existed as of January 1, 2020; and
(iii) Display in print on the exterior of the paper bag the minimum percentage of postconsumer content.
(b) A reusable carryout bag must:
(i) Have a minimum lifetime of one hundred twenty-five uses, which for purposes of this subsection means the capacity to carry a minimum of twenty-two pounds one hundred twenty-five times over a distance of at least one hundred seventy-five feet;
(ii) Be machine washable or made from a durable material that may be cleaned or disinfected; and
(iii) If made of film plastic:
(A) Be made from a minimum of twenty percent postconsumer recycled content until July 1, 2022, and thereafter must be made from a minimum of forty percent postconsumer recycled content;
(B) Display in print on the exterior of the plastic bag the minimum percentage of postconsumer recycled content, the mil thickness, and that the bag is reusable; and
(C) Have a minimum thickness of no less than 2.25 mils until December 31, 2025, and beginning January 1, 2026, must have a minimum thickness of four mils.
(c) Except for the purposes of subsection (4) of this section, food banks and other food assistance programs are not retail establishments, but are encouraged to take actions to reduce the use of single-use plastic carryout bags.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: *(1) Chapter 70.360 RCW was recodified as chapter 70A.455 RCW pursuant to 2020 c 20 § 2066.
(2) See note following chapter digest.
Application of RCW 82.32.805 and 82.32.8082020 c 138: See note following RCW 70A.530.005.
Site Contents
Selected content listed in alphabetical order under each group