It's time to get your own grocery bag. That's because the state's plastic bag ban starts on October 1. State officials say the bag ban stops the availability of single-use plastic carry-out bags by restaurants, retail, small vendor, and grocery stores.

DON'T BYOB? YOU'LL PAY 8 CENTS A BAG IN THE FALL

The ban was set to take effect on January 1 of this year but was delayed because of the pandemic but now it's set to impact retailers and consumers on the first of October. That means this fall Yakima grocery stores will charge customers 8 cents for each compliant plastic or paper bag if you don't have a bag of your own. State officials say the 8 cents isn't a tax but rather a sale kept by the merchant to provide incentive for customers to bring their own bags and to recoup the costs for the more durable compliant bags.

NOT EVERYONE WILL BE CHARGED THE PLASTIC BAG FEE

Food banks and pantries and those getting food stamps aren't subject to the 8 cent charge. Some bags are exempt like those used to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.
Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program says “single-use plastic bags are not easily recyclable, which makes managing them at the end of their lives almost impossible, reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams, and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”

STATE OFFICIALS SAY PLASTIC POSES A BIG THREAT TO THE STATE

State officials say "plastic bags are a common form of pollution that threatens human health, wildlife, and the environment. Harmful chemicals are released when plastics are produced, used, incinerated, or slowly disintegrate into microscopic particles. Plastic bags are also a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling system that clog sorting machines and put worker safety at risk."

So get used to your own bag or get ready to pay in October when the ban takes effect in Yakima and around the state.

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