Washington lawmakers call for statewide ban on plastic grocery bags

SEATTLE  — Washington state leaders are calling for a new way to limit the use of plastic bags.

A group of lawmakers and advocates, along with representatives from local grocers and the Woodland Park Zoo, announced Wednesday morning a bill for the 2019 legislative session that, if passed, would ban single-use plastic bags statewide and impose a 10-cent fee on each paper bag used.

"What we are here for today … we will pass regulations that make sure that in the future, we are not using single-use plastic bags here in Washington state ever again," state Sen. Kevin Ranker said. "We have got to step up as a state."

Hawaii and California have similar measures in place. In California, retailers can only offer reusable plastic bags, and they charge for them.

Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii.

Currently, 19 cities in Washington have plastic bag bans in place, including Seattle, Tacoma and Edmonds. Kenmore most recently approved a ban that takes effect on Jan. 1.

Lawmakers tried to pass a tax on plastic bags in the last legislative session, but it failed.

The new bill will be introduced in the 2019 session.