Kirkland City Council approves ban on plastic bags

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The Kirkland City Council has voted 6-1 to ban the use of plastic bags in most stores, joining several other cities in Western Washington in adopting such a policy.

The change will go into effect on March 1, 2016. It will bar retailers from providing single-use, disposable plastic carry-out bags to customers.

Kirkland’s ordinance requires large retailers to charge customers a minimum of a 5-cent fee for each large recyclable paper bag to encourage consumers to use reusable bags.

It is estimated that the new regulation will affect approximately 170 retail businesses in Kirkland.

The ordinance allows for several exemptions to the plastic bag ban, including those used to contain bulk food and hardware items, frozen foods and meats, take-out food, newspaper and dry cleaning bags, and bags used for garbage and pet waste.

The measure passed by the Kirkland City Council is similar to ordinances adopted over the past several years in the cities of Seattle, Issaquah, Bellingham, Shoreline, and Mercer Island.