Lacey, WA Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Lacey, Washington, Feb. 13, 2014 (PBBR) - On the ninth consideration, the City Council of Lacey banned retailers from providing thin-film plastic carryout bags to customers. The ordinance was passed by a vote of 4-3 and will affect all retailers.

The issue of single-use plastic bags had come before the full Council or at the committee level on eight other occasions. Lacey becomes the third city in the county to ban plastic bags along with the county.

During the Council meeting, four citizens spoke against the ordinance with only one speaking for the ordinance. Councilmember Greenstein spoke against the ordinance and suggested that the ordinance proposal should be placed on a ballot for the citizens to vote on the issue. Councilmember Clarkson agreed.

The idea of regulating plastic bags was originally spearheaded by the Thurston County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). The Board of County Commissioners drafted an ordinance, submitted the draft to all cities in the county, and asked each city to pass the ordinance. Lacey becomes the fourth jurisdiction of the county to regulate single-use bags with legislation being previously passed by Thurston County and the cities of Olympia, and Tumwater.

The ordinance not only bans plastic bags, but regulates paper bags. Retailers must only supply paper bags manufactured with a minimum of 40% recycled material. Furthermore, retailers must charge a fee of at least five cents for each recycled paper bag supplied to a customer.

The ordinance will take effect on July 1st of this year.