Single-use plastic bags are set to be banned from Bremerton as of Jan. 1 after the city council voted 6-1 to regulate the distribution of single-use plastic and biodegradable carryout bags. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Single-use plastic bags are set to be banned from Bremerton as of Jan. 1 after the city council voted 6-1 to regulate the distribution of single-use plastic and biodegradable carryout bags. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Bremerton council bans single-use plastic bags by 2020

Plastic bags less than 2.25 millimeters thick will be banned, with some exceptions.

BREMERTON — Bremerton City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday, regulating the distribution of single-use plastic and biodegradable carryout bags.

The motion carried 6-1 with council members Leslie Daugs, Kevin Gorman, Lori Wheat, Michael Goodnow, Richard Huddy and Eric Younger all supporting the ordinance, while council member Pat Sullivan was the sole opposition.

The basis of ordinance No. 5368 is that plastic bags considered single-use are prohibited. Plastic bags less than 2.25 millimeters thick will be banned and bags constructed of durable plastic (more than 2.25 millimeters) are considered reusable.

Some exceptions will be had, which include plastic bags to be used for frozen food, meat, fish, produce and bulk items. One of the driving forces of this ordinance is the danger plastic bags pose to wildlife and the environment.

Plastic bags can clog up recycling machines and slow down the separation process. The plastic bags also degrade into small particles that can damage soil and waterways, City of Bremerton Public Works Operations Manager Malinka Hawkins-Bates said.

Data shows that Kitsap County consumes around 87 million plastic bags per year, with only 12 percent being recycled. An estimated 32 percent of all plastics produced annually end up in the environment.

A pass-through fee of eight cents will be charged for each paper or thicker plastic bag provided at the point of sale if the consumer does not provide their own bags. Proponents of the ordinance say the charge will be an incentive for customers to bring reusable bags when they shop and will help stores save money from purchasing more expensive paper bags.

The ban is part of a statewide effort to reduce waste and promote the use of reusable bags. City officials discussed a ban of this nature last year but was put on hold due to the Legislature debating a bill that would have banned single-use plastic bags in the state. The bill passed the Senate in March but never made it to the House floor for a vote.

“Until that statewide policy passes, we are working city to city to make sure they are as closely aligned so when a state law passes, there will be as little shuffle as possible,” Holly Chisa of Northwest Grocery Association said.

29 other municipalities in the state have approved ordinances regulating plastic bags, according to Chisa. Council President Eric Younger seemed baffled to why the state can’t seem to pass something so “simple.”

“If we can address this at the local level and it makes common sense, why can’t they do that at the state level?”

Councilwoman Sullivan opposed the ordinance because she is not in favor of the government telling businesses to set a fee for the bags.

“While I believe we all need to be stewards of the environment, I believe we can do so through education,” she said.

Kitsap County and the city of Port Orchard are also looking at their bag ban ordinances. The ordinance will be implemented in Bremerton Jan. 1.

Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at

Talk to us

More in Northwest

FILE - In this March 9, 1995 file photo, trainer Marcia Hinton pets Lolita, a captive orca whale, during a performance at the Miami Seaquarium in Miami. The new owners of the Miami Seaquarium will no longer stage shows with its aging orca Lolita under an agreement with federal regulators. MS Leisure, a subsidiary of The Dolphin Company, said in a news release it completed acquisition of the Seaquarium on Thursday, March 3, 2022.    (Nuri Vallbona/Miami Herald via AP, File)
Agreement in place to return Lolita the orca to the Pacific

A plan is in place to return an orca that has lived in captivity for more than 50 years to her home waters.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle Audubon changes name, severing tie to slave owner

Seattle Audubon is changing its name to Birds Connect Seattle to move away from a name with a racist legacy.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

House Bill 1618 would remove time limits that have stymied lawsuits who frequently do not fully confront childhood trauma until years later.

In this image provided by John Odegard, firefighters in Seattle douse flames at a marina on Lake Union, near the city's University District, early on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The fire burned 30 boats on a dry-rack storage facility, and a man found hiding in one vessel was arrested for investigation of arson, authorities said. (John Odegard via AP)
Fire at Seattle marina burns 30 boats on dry rack storage

A man found hiding in one vessel was arrested for investigation of arson, authorities said.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Deputy shot, wounded in Seattle during eviction, 1 dead

A King County Sheriff’s deputy was shot Monday and a person inside the residence was later found dead.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Man pleads guilty to stalking Washington state lawmaker

Isaiah Long, 34, of Bremerton, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony stalking Rep. Michelle Caldier.

Amtrak restores full daily train service to Vancouver, B.C.

Amtrak has restarted direct trips between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leonard Cobb, co-founder of state’s first Medic One, dies at 96

An incident more than 60 years ago helped prompt creation of the groundbreaking emergency medical service.

A Value Village store is seen Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Edmonds, Wash. The company that operates 300 Value Village, Savers and other thrift stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia is suing Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, saying his office has violated its rights by demanding $3.2 million to settle a three-year investigation. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Court rejects deception charges against Savers Value Village

The Washington state Supreme Court handed the thrift store chain Savers Value Village a unanimous win Thursday.

Breadson John, 8, was found safe in Missouri on Wednesday, Feb. 21, after going missing from Vancouver in June 2022. (FBI)
Vancouver boy, 8, missing since June, found in Missouri

Breadson John was found safe in Jasper County Missouri after being missing for 8 months.

Seattle Council Member Kshama Sawant speaks to supporters and opponents of a proposed ordinance to add caste to Seattle's anti-discrimination laws at a rally at Seattle City Hall, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, in Seattle. Sawant proposed the ordinance. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination

The Seattle City Council on Tuesday added caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, becoming the first city to pass such a law outside South Asia.

Clay Siegall, cofounder and former CEO of Seagen. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
Why prosecutors say former Seagen CEO wasn’t charged after arrest

Edmonds prosecutors said there were contradictory statements on the night Seagen ex-CEO Clay Siegall was accused of domestic violence.