It looks like it’s going to happen this time.
The legislature is poised to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. And just for good measure, the state is likely to ban certain polystyrene products this year too – like clamshell take-out containers and packing peanuts.
ESSB 5323 would prohibit a retail establishment from providing a paper carryout bag or reusable carryout bag made of film plastic that does not meet recycled content requirements. This doesn’t include bags for bulk items, meats, frozen foods, bakery goods, etc.
If a paper or plastic bag containing the right amount of recycled material is provided, the retailer must charge and keep 8 cents per bag. The 8-cent charge is classified as a taxable sale. Additionally, retailers are barred from providing bags for free or reimbursing customers, with a few exceptions.
All existing local ordinances are preempted except those who have implemented a charge of 10 cents per bag before 1/1/2019. Any new ordinances are also prohibited.
E2SSB 6213 prohibits the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene products like portable containers used for cold storage, food service products like containers, plates, and hot and cold beverage cups, and loose-fill packaging materials, like packing peanuts. Certain products are exempted from the ban, including containers for drugs and medical devices and packaging for raw meats, fish, poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruit, and egg cartons. The new law would take effect on 6/1/2023.
Local governments are preempted by this new law, too, unless they enact their own regulations by 6/1/2020.
Trips to the grocery store won’t be the same as they are today. You’ll have to bring your own bags or pay the store for the ones they provide. If you aren’t doing one of those already, you will be soon.
Getting take-out for dinner may look a little different. No more disposable foam containers for your leftovers, either. It’ll be a different single-use container, hopefully, something recyclable or compostable.
Future generations will wonder what we were thinking. We’ll only be able to say, we believed that it was cheap, or even free.
No, life will never be the same. But it might be better.