EVERETT — Fewer plastic bags will be floating around Everett. At least that’s the goal of a single-use plastic bag ban going into effect Monday.
At check-out, shoppers will instead have to purchase a paper or thicker plastic bag for 5 cents — or bring their own sack, which is what the fee is designed to encourage.
The ban also applies to restaurants and carry-out orders, except for bags used to prevent spillage. Dry cleaning and newspaper sacks will be permitted.
By last week, the Safeway at Rucker Avenue and 41st Street already had run out of the thin plastic bags and had made the switch to paper bags. The store sells reusable bags for a $1 each.
Many shoppers leaving the store said they were unaware of the upcoming change. When informed of the ban, Maryanne Piazza, of Everett, spoke in favor, saying a reduction in plastic would be a good thing. It might even encourage her to use the reusable bags she has, Piazza said.
“If I remember,” she added.
It took Ingrid Stroeder two months to get in the habit of bringing her reusable bags with her to the store, she said. The Everett resident made the transition long before the ban passed.
To remember her bags, once her groceries are unpacked she places the bags near her front door then stows them in the car for the next shopping trip.
“I won’t have to pay that fee and it’s better for the environment,” Stroeder said, with several bags in hand as she entered the grocery store.
Free reusable bags are still available at Everett’s utility billing counter at 3101 Cedar St.
Households that qualify for food assistance will be exempted from the 5 cent fee.
In December, Everett joined more than 20 jurisdictions in Washington that prohibit the single-use plastic bags, including Edmonds, Mukilteo, Shoreline and Quil Ceda Village.
The city of Snohomish also passed a ban recently. It takes effect Jan. 1. There, the council implemented a 10 cent fee if purchasing a paper bag.
Edmonds was the first city in the state to prohibit the single-use plastic bag, and starting in 2020 it will also ban single-use plastic containers, including plates, trays, cups, lids, bowls and lidded cartons.
A statewide prohibition on single-use plastic was considered last year, but failed to pass.