• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma OpenData

Shopping Bag Restrictions

Ecology Plastic Bag Ban Summary


The Washington State Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Begins October 1, 2021

 Grocery, convenience, retail stores and restaurants are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic carry-out bags or free paper bags at checkout. Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags.  


This state-wide law supersedes the City of Tacoma Bring Your Own Bag ordinance.  While Tacoma’s old ordinance and the new state-wide ban share the same goal of reducing plastic pollution, there are notable differences: 

  • The state-wide minimum fee for a new paper or heavy reusable plastic bag is 8 cents.
  • “Compostable” bags are not accepted in Tacoma’s food and yard waste bins even though the state-wide ban allows retailers to distribute them. 
  • Resources for retailers, including “frequently asked questions” and outreach toolkits are provided by the Department of Ecology and are available in multiple languages.
  • Complaints about non-compliant businesses can be  submitted directly to the Department of  Ecology:  ecology.wa.gov/bagban.

What hasn’t changed: 

  • Everyone is encouraged to bring their own bags when shopping but people with EBT, WIC or TANF benefits do not have to pay the  fee when they receive a paper checkout bag. 
  • The bag ban does not apply to food banks. 
  • Retailers can provide disposable plastic bags for produce, bulk foods, and meat. 
  • Restaurants can provide disposable plastic bags for prepared take-out foods and liquids intended for consumption outside of the establishment. 
  • Carry-out paper bags must contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled fiber and be labeled as such. 
  • Carry-out reusable plastic bags must be 2.25 mils thick.

Read more about the Washington State single-use plastic bag ban.  

Click to download the following flyers:

 Bring Your Own Bag flyer       WA Bag Ban flyer


Click to download additional and multilingual flyers.