On Tuesday evening, the Tumwater City Council passed a bag ordinance, the first in Thurston County, that bans single-use plastic bags in all retail stores.
The ordinance goes into effect starting in July of 2014. While plastic shopping bags would be banned from distribution, paper bags would be allowed with a five cent charge. Consumers can opt out by bringing in their own bags or putting their purchases in their purse or backpack.
Tumwater's ordinance is modeled off Thurston County's ordinance. Thurston County worked on writing an ordinance with input from local governments and other stakeholders, and sent the ordinance language to its cities in mid August 2013. According to media, Thurston County will hold a hearing and potentially vote on its own bag ordinance next Tuesday, September 24.
On a related note, the County's recycling facility will stop accepting plastic bags starting next month, due to a limited market for reclamation.
Thurston County is located at the southern end of Puget Sound. Tumwater, with a population of over 18,000, is located one hour southwest of Seattle.