Plastic bag ordinance

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Plastic bag ordinance home

Resources for shoppers

There are many websites and store locations where you can purchase a variety of reusable bags to replace disposables.

Remember to B.Y.O.Bag

Remembering to bring your reusable bags when you shop is like learning any new habit—you can do it with time and practice.If you have trouble remembering to bring your bags with you, try these handy reminders:

  • Make "bring shopping bags" the first item on your grocery list.
  • Keep a bag at the office, in your purse, or in your
    briefcase.
  • Hang the bags on your front door knob, or place them with your car keys.
  • Make yourself a colorful door hanger for the house.
  • Right after you empty your bags, wash or sanitize them. Put them right back in your car when they are dry.
  • Keep your bags in the front seat of your car so you can see them.
  • Place a “grab the bags” sticky note on your dash or car door handle.
  • Give your little ones the job of remembering the bags when you go shopping.
  • Charge yourself a dollar every time you forget your bags. Donate the money to charity.

Keep your bags clean

Don't forget to wash your bags regularly! Just like kitchen sponges, towels and surfaces, your reusable bags can hold bacteria and viruss, and need to be washed regularly. Thurston County Public Health has guidelines for safe reusable bag use (external).


Choose the best reusable bag

There is no standard definition of a reusable bag. However, within the intent of the ordinance, 20 repeat uses is a reasonable minimum.

Which type of reusable bag is best? The Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags determined that different types of bags have different environmental impacts. You would need to use a non-woven polypropylene bag between 11 to 33 times to equal the impact of a disposable plastic bag. In comparison, a cotton bag would need to be used 131 to 393 times.

Several reports estimate how many disposable bags would be replaced by one reusable bag. According to the Florida Retail Bags Report (PDF), the range is 56 to 315 disposable plastic bags replaced by a single reusable bag in a year’s time. This would depend on factors such as the shopping habits of the bag owner, what the bag is made of, and the size of the bag. Even at the low end, taking nearly 60 disposable bags out of circulation for every one reusable bag is a big step.


Make your own bags

Use these free patterns to make reusable totes, produce bags, and snack/sandwich bags:


Contact us

Call Terri Thomas at (360) 867-2279 or e-mail Thomaste@co.thurston.wa.us.

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