The Bothell City Council approved the restrictions on single-use plastic carryout bags at the City Council meeting on November 19, 2019. This ordinance is part of their 2019-2020 goals. Like many surrounding cities, this ordinance means that plastic bags will no longer be given out at checkout in stores starting April 22, 2020. Shoppers will either need to bring their own reusable bag(s) or pay for a paper bag(s).
Currently, 37 jurisdictions in Washington, including Bothell, have restrictions on single-use plastic carryout bags, including our neighbors Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Kirkland. Additionally, over 300 cities across the US, seven states, five US territories, and over 120 countries regulate single-use plastic bags.
Why is Bothell restricting single-use plastic carryout bags?
To protect the environment
Plastics never fully degrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces but remaining in our soil and waterways. Even in our landfill, it takes up to 1000 years for plastic bags to break down.
To decrease litter
Plastic bags increase litter in our parks and open spaces.
To improve recycling
Starting on January 1, 2020, plastic bags will not be accepted in curbside recycling bins. If they do end up in recycling bins, plastic bags get tangled in sorting machinery, causing the sorting process to stop. Not only does this slow down the process but workers have to repel into the equipment to physically untangle plastic bags.
Per BMC 8.75.110, Bothell business owners can request a limited-term extension to comply with single-use plastic carryout bag restrictions upon showing that the restrictions would cause undue hardship.