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Posted on: December 13, 2018

Council Passes Ordinance to Ban Retail Plastic Bags; Encourages Recycling Education

Council passed an ordinance to ban retail carryout plastic bags in stores during the December 4th council meeting. The ordinance was first presented at the November 20th meeting. 

Plastic bags used for take-out food, newspapers, pet and yard waste, garbage bags, bulk and frozen foods, hardware items, or to wrap flowers are not included in the ban.

Municipal Relationship Manager, Russel Joe with Republic Services spoke to Council about what happens after plastic bags arrive to their facility. He said when plastic bags make their way into recycling bins, they clog machinery, which costs employee time and, subsequently, raises rates. Republic, however, does not accept carry-out plastic bags. These need to be taken to local grocery stores that participate in specialized recycling programs and turn them into other plastic items. 

Several community members commented on the ordinance during the public hearing. More were in favor of the ban than opposed.

Council added an amendment to the original ordinance that a retail establishment may impose a fee or charge not to exceed 5 cents for each bag. 

Also included in the amendment is that a retailer may not collect this charge from anyone with a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under certain assistance programs, including Women Infants and Children; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families; Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Basic Food); and the Washington State Food Assistance Program.

The amended ordinance passed 4-2 with Councilmembers Garcia, Elwood, Kostanich and Volken voting in favor. Rosen and Gothelf voted against the ban. Councilmember Loudenback was not present. The ordinance and ban will take effect on July 1st, 2019.

All Councilmembers agreed about the importance of educating citizens about proper recycling. In light of this, the City would like to provide the following resources:  

Republic Services – Items you can typically recycle.
Solid Waste and Recycling Services Webpage - Republic Services information on City of North Bend website.
Empty, Clean and Dry flyer
Cedar Grove Composting - For residential and commercial yard and food waste.
Threadcycle – Give all your clothes, shoes or linens for reuse or recycle. 

To view the meeting, click here: December 4th Council Meeting. The discussion begins at 18:27 minutes. 

To read the ordinance, click here: Retail Carryout Bags

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