City of Bellingham took a big step forward in reducing litter and
unnecessary waste, protecting water and wildlife, and saving money by
reducing the use of plastic bags in our community.
The Bellingham City Council approved the Single Use Carry Out Bag Ordinance
(commonly known as the "plastic bag ban") in July 2011.
The new law took effect August 1, 2012.
Key elements of the ordinance
- Single-use plastic carry out bags are prohibited.
This includes all plastic bags less than 2.25 mils thick
provided at check out or point of sale.
- Customers must be charged 5-cents per large paper bag. Retailers
keep the revenue from the 5-cent charge, which is taxable and must be
shown on sales receipts.
- Large paper bags requiring the 5-cent charge must be a minimum
of 40-percent post-consumer recycled fiber and the fiber content must be
marked on the outside.
- Smaller paper bags may be provided with or without charge at
the store’s discretion.
- Thick plastic bags — 2.25 mil or greater — are deemed reusable
and may be provided with or without charge at the store’s discretion.
- Plastic bags used for restaurant take-out foods and meats and
produce in grocery stores will still be allowed, because of the public
health functions they provide.