The Tacoma City Council passed the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) ordinance on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The law regulates the use of carryout bags and will go into effect in one year. The main elements of the law are:
- Thin plastic carryout bags will no longer be distributed at any Tacoma retail establishments.
- Retail establishments will collect a minimum pass-through charge of 5 cents for each recycled paper or reusable carryout bag requested by customers.
- Those with benefits cards will not have to pay the pass-through charge.
Bags other than carryout bags, such as produce bags, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags, will continue to be available at no charge. The law follows the same carryout bag restriction model that twelve other communities in Washington State have implemented.
During the one year implementation period City staff will distribute free reusable bags, conduct focused engagement in low-income communities, and provide educational resources to businesses. Staff will also conduct a study of the impacts of the law after implementation. Annually, retailers will be asked to report to the City on the number of recycled paper carryout bags distributed to help determine effectiveness of the law.
View the BYOB ordinance and the one year implementation plans.
Check this webpage often for updates including BYOB educational resources.
July 12, 2016
City Council passed the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) ordinance during Council meeting. The law regulates the use of carryout bags and will go into effect in one year. Council also discussed a substitute ordinance which did not pass.
June 28, 2016
City Council heard the first reading of the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance during Council meeting. Jim Parvey presented this ordinance and gave background information as well as implementation plans.
May 10, 2016
Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability staff presented the draft Bring Your Own Bag ordinance and implementation plans to City Council during study session.
April 27, 2016
Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability staff presented the draft Bring Your Own Bag ordinance and implementation plans to City Council's Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee.
March 29, 2016
The City of Tacoma hosted the Disposable Shopping Bags Public Forum at the Main Branch of the Tacoma Public Library to gather feedback on the proposed shopping bag ordinance and implementation plans. About 60 members of the community attended the forum, and written and oral comments were broad in nature with equal numbers in favor and opposition.
February 24, 2016
Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability staff presented the results of the public and business surveys to City Council's Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee (IPS). This presentation included the Sustainable Tacoma Commission recommendation to adopt an ordinance following the "Bellingham Model."
IPS asked staff to draft an ordinance following the Bellingham Model and continue to engage the public for feedback. Bellingham's ordinance bans disposable plastic shopping bags and charges a fee for paper shopping bags.
November 23, 2015 - January 15, 2016
Public and business surveys were available online. The public survey received 2,188 responses; the business survey received 84 responses. View the results of the public and business surveys.
Why restrict disposable shopping bags?
What are other cities doing?
Fourteen communities in Washington State have placed restrictions on single-use plastic and paper bags.
Numerous communities around the nation and the world, beginning with Bangladesh in 2002, have restrictions on single-use shopping bags. Several models have been used to reduce dependency on single-use plastic and paper bags, each with their own advantages and limitations. For all models, paper bags must be at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content and 100 percent recyclable.
Disposable bag regulations in other communities have shown the following:
Frequently Asked Questions