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Plastic Grocery Bag Ban

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Single-use plastic carryout bag ban began
July 1, 2014


Before the ban, Thurston County residents used approximately 90 million plastic shopping bags annually and it's an environmental threat. These single-use bags litter the community, increase cost to retailers, have negative marine impacts, and cause problems throughout every step of the solid waste recycling and disposal system. Read the report from Thurston County Solid Waste, "Reducing Our Use: Plastic Shopping Bags," for more information.

In 2013, Tumwater, along with Thurston County and the cities of Olympia and Lacey adopted an ordinance to help reduce the impacts of single-use plastic bags in the community. 

Beginning July 1, 2014, consumers had incentives to bring their reusable bags when they shop, because:

  • Retailers no longer distribute single-use carryout plastic bags at the point of sale. Plastic bags are still allowed for produce, meat, bulk foods, newspapers, dry cleaning, door hangers, and take-out food.
  • Consumers pay an additional 5 cents for each large paper grocery/shopping bag. Small paper bags are available at no cost. (Money collected from paper carryout bag sales is considered income for retailers to offset the additional cost of paper bags.)

Resources for retailers

Visit Thurston County Solid Waste website for more information and educational resources.

Download the Bag Ban Poster (English/Spanish) from the Thurston County Solid Waste website.


For more information, including a history of the ordinance, resources for retailers and residents, and an email list for updates, visit the Thurston County Solid Waste website or call Terri Thomas at (360) 867-2279.