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 / Planning & Community Development / Sustainable Mukilteo / Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

The Mukilteo City Council approved a Solid Waste and Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance to promote the use of reusable checkout bags which will lead to a reduction in the use of single-use bags in the city.  This will then decrease the amount of solid waste created by Mukilteo residents and will also protect the area’s native habitats and the quality of life of Mukilteo residents.
What’s in the ordinance?
The regulations contained in the ordinance go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.  At that time retail establishments in Mukilteo will be prohibited from providing their customers with checkout bags made of plastic. 

Stores will still be allowed to provide single-use bags but they must be recyclable, compostable or made of 100% post industrial recycle resin.

Before the regulations go into effect, the City and Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce will conduct programs to educate Mukilteo residents and businesses about the benefits of using reusable bags.
What bags are not checkout bags and thus exempt?
  • Bags used within a larger store solely for produce, bulk food or meat.
  • Bags provided to carry cooked or prepared food out of a restaurant or similar establishment.
  • Bags used inside stores to hold bulk items, frozen or wet foods, flowers, potted plants, unwrapped prepared deli foods or bakery goods.
  • Pharmacy prescription bags.
  • Small checkout bags less than 1 pint in volume typically used for gifts or hardware.
  • Bags to protect newspapers
  • Door-hanger bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Bags intended for use to hold garbage, pet waste or yard waste that are sold in packages containing multiple bags.
  • Sandwich/food storage bags
  • Bags used by charitable re-users who sell and promote the use of reusable bags, for clothing and food assistance programs.
What bags are affected?
The ordinance affects bags used by customers to carry their purchases out of a store (checkout bags). Starting Jan. 1, 2013, retail establishments that provide checkout bags at the cash register (point of sale) can only provide their customers with:
  • Reusable bags made of cloth or other machine washable fabric or of durable plastic that is at least 2.5 mils thick and is suitable for reuse.
  • Recyclable paper bags made of paper or other renewable product that does not contain any old growth fiber, is 100% recyclable and contains a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycle content or is compostable in a green bin.
  • 100% post-industrial recycled resin bags.
  • Renewable compostable bags made from a renewable material (such as corn by-product) that is compostable and breaks down or that is biodegradable and may be placed in a yard waste green bin.
Recyclable, compostable and resin bags must meet ASTM Standard D6400.  For more information about this standard go to:
Must all stores comply?
All retail establishment must comply with these regulations.

However, they can be exempted by the Mayor or his/her designee if they can show compliance will cause them an undue hardship.  Requests for exemptions must be submitted in writing.  Undue hardship are unique situations where there is no acceptable alternative to the use of single-use plastic for the store’s products.  Stores can also be exempted if the regulations would deprive a person of a legally-protected right.  Retailers can also request an extension to find replacement products.

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