A man carries items in a plastic bag as he walks down Evergreen Way. On Wednesday, the city of Everett passed a ban on the bags. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A man carries items in a plastic bag as he walks down Evergreen Way. On Wednesday, the city of Everett passed a ban on the bags. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett City Council approves ban on single-use plastic bags

It will go into effect in September. Shoppers will be able to purchase a thicker plastic or paper bag for $0.05.

EVERETT — Starting in September, retailers in Everett will be barred from using single-use plastic bags at checkout.

Councilmembers unanimously approved the ban Wednesday night. Shoppers will have the option of purchasing a thicker plastic or paper bag for $0.05. They also can bring their own.

The local organization 350 Everett proposed the reusable bag ordinance earlier this year, working with the advocacy group Zero Waste Washington.

The change is going to improve the cleanliness and look of neighborhoods, said Pam Kepford, who led the push for 350 Everett.

“This is one place individual people can make a difference,” she said.

Presenting the proposal to neighborhood groups and councilmembers, she earned her nickname “Bag Lady.”

More than 20 jurisdictions in Washington already prohibit the single-use plastic bags, including Edmonds, Mukilteo, Shoreline and Quil Ceda Village.

In early December, a statewide ban was proposed that would preempt local ordinances.

Despite that statewide effort, the action taken in Everett is still valuable, said Heather Trim, executive director of Zero Waste Washington.

“It’s going to take a while for a statewide bill to pass and go into effect,” she said Thursday.

Madison Miller, a spokeswoman for the Downtown Everett Association, said she hasn’t heard any complaints from businesses about the new restrictions.

She believes they aren’t impacted as much because many have already moved away from plastic bags to paper.

The ban will also apply to restaurants and carry-out orders, except for bags used to prevent spillage.

Dry cleaning and newspaper sacks will be permitted.

Households that qualify for food assistance will be exempted from the $0.05 fee.

The city plans on using the nine-month rollout period for outreach to residents and businesses. The ban will go into effect Sept. 30, 2019.

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

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