City Council to Consider Reusable Bag Ordinance

City Council is considering the value of a new city ordinance to encourage the use of reusable carryout bags in Kenmore.  To be examined and potentially adopted in July, the policy could prohibit retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout and apply a 5-cent “pass-through” charge for each paper bag supplied.


In Kenmore, we value our natural resources and our comprehensive plan calls for protection of our natural and environmentally sensitive areas, open space, trees, and air and water quality. Plastic bags that aren’t recycled end up in our landfills and pollute our storm drains, local water, and the ocean.  This litter, along with the environmental cost of producing billions of plastic bags each year, is a global, national, state, and local issue.  City Council is learning more about what our role could and should be on this topic.

City staff briefed City Council on June 11, 2018 and presented background information and examples of different city ordinances.  In some cities, retailers are prohibited from providing plastic bags and apply a charge for each paper bag supplied.  In others, plastic bags are prohibited and there is no fee on recyclable paper bags.  In perhaps the most comprehensive policy, in some areas stores do not provide plastic or paper bags at all and customers provide their own bags. Often, ordinances include 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.


We want to hear community input on this topic! Staff is engaging directly with retailers who would be affected by a reusable bag ordinance.  A public hearing will be held at Kenmore City Hall during City Council Meeting on July 9 at 7 p.m. Following the public hearing, the City Council will likely make a decision on the ordinance later in July.  Should the Council adopt the ordinance as written, the new regulations could go into effect as soon as January 1, 2019.


If you have input or questions and are not able to attend on July 9th, please reach out to Jack Urquhart, JUrquhart@kenmorewa.govand continue to follow the item on upcoming Council meeting agendas at

Last updated: Wed, 06/27/2018 - 1:17pm