January 15, 2012: Two sponsors of plastic bag ban bills in the 2011 Session of the Washington State Legislature has introduced those same bills again this year.
HB1877 and SB5780, both bills to ban plastic bags and promote reusable bags at retail checkouts, were introduced last year and both failed to pass.
HB 1877 requires retail stores to use only certain checkout bags. The bill also requires the Department of Ecology to develop guidelines identifying the specifications of checkout bags allowed.
Reintroduced again this year by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Rep. Marko Liias, the legislation is aimed at protecting Puget Sound wildlife and the environment from plastic bag debris.
HB 1877 is modeled on ordinances adopted recently in Bellingham, Mukilteo and Seattle, and would ban most disposable plastic bags at retailers. Representatives from Environment Washington and Fred Meyer expressed their strong support for the bill.
Rep. Fitzgibbon said on his website, “Plastic bags are a threat to our unique marine environments in Washington State, and as we have led on so many environmental issues in Washington, we should lead the way in the nation by moving away from polluting our waterways with single-use plastic bags. Many local governments have taken an important first step, but a statewide approach would be easier for businesses to administer and help our waterways recover.”