On July 23, 2018, the Kenmore City Council adopted a new plastic bag policy effective January 1, 2019 to encourage the use of reusable carryout bags in the City of Kenmore. The policy prohibits retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout and requires they charge a 5-cent fee for each recycled paper bag supplied. This fee is retained by the retailer. The ordinance includes exemptions for in-store specialty bags (for items such as bulk foods, produce, meat, etc.) and bags for prepared foods (restaurant takeout bags), laundry, newspapers, pet waste, garbage bags, and bags where dampness could be an issue. Additionally, low-income residents with electronic vouchers for government programs will be exempted from the 5-cent fee. Plastic straws were not addressed in this ordinance.
For the last few months, the Kenmore City Council has been studying this issue, evaluating different ordinance options, and hearing from the community to determine what action they should take. Kenmore City staff worked closely with the non-profit Zero Waste Washington and engaged directly with retailers who will be affected by the ordinance. The Kenmore City Council also held a public hearing on July 9th to hear feedback from businesses and residents.
Over the next few months, city staff will be providing materials and information to retailers and customers informing them of the regulations and compliance date.
The full ordinance is available at https://kenmore.civicweb.net/document/90638