The Edmonds plastic ban prohibits non-compostable food containers, including plates, trays, cups, lids, bowls and lidded cartons. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Edmonds plastic ban prohibits non-compostable food containers, including plates, trays, cups, lids, bowls and lidded cartons. (Wikimedia Commons)

Edmonds bans single-use plastic containers

The city already prohibited plastic bags. It will target plastic straws and utensils next.

EDMONDS — Edmonds has become the first city in Snohomish County and the second in the state to prohibit single-use plastic food containers.

The ban, which passed unanimously Tuesday night, will take effect at the start of 2020. It will prohibit non-compostable food containers, which include plates, trays, cups, lids, bowls and lidded cartons. The restrictions will apply to any business selling or providing food, including farmers market booths and grocery stores.

Food items that come into a store or restaurant prepackaged, such as ketchup packets, would be exempt. The city also plans to ban plastic straws, utensils and stir sticks.

Heather Trim, executive director of the advocacy group Zero Waste Washington, told councilmembers Tuesday the move will help cut down on food waste, which makes up about 17 percent of what gets sent to landfills.

With this change, restaurants and other establishments will only need to use one bin for both food and containers, all of which can be commercially composted, Trim said.

No one spoke against the ordinance during the public hearing. Violators will be charged $100 for the first offense. For subsequent infractions within two years the fine would increase to $250.

Groups around the county have been taking aim at single-use plastics. Last year, Everett joined the more than 20 jurisdictions around the state that prohibit retailers from supplying shoppers single-use plastic bags at checkout. It will take effect in September. The city of Snohomish is close to doing the same. An ordinance, which has support from a majority of councilmembers, is set to come before council soon.

In 2009, Edmonds was the first in the state to ban the sacks. State Rep. Strom Peterson, a former Edmonds City Councilman, is working on a statewide ban.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165;; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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