Update: Washington Plastic Bag Ban & Plastic Bag Charge

Update: December 20, 2021

The Washington Cares Fund is Delayed until April of 2022.

The Legislature and Governor Inslee have announced plans to change and improve the WA Cares Fund during the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to conclude in March 2022.  Per direction from the Governor, ESD will not collect premiums from employers until April 2022 or until further direction is received.

This information can be found here.

Original Post: September 1, 2021

Beginning October 1, 2021, Washington’s Plastic Bag Ban goes into effect.  The law will reduce pollution by prohibiting single-use plastic carryout bags and allowing businesses to charge a bag fee for acceptable bags.

Who does the ban apply to?

  • All retail, grocery, and convenience stores
  • Any restaurant or establishment offering takeout or delivery food or goods
  • Temporary stores or vendors
  • Any event where food or goods are sold or distributed

Click here for a list of allowable bags that a business can charge a bag fee, a list of banned bags, a great summary of the new requirements, and FAQs.

When the bag ban goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2021, anyone may submit an observation of businesses not in compliance with the new requirements using an online reporting form.

The information will be used to follow up with businesses to ensure their understanding of the new law. Repeated non-compliance may result in a fine of up to $250.

Businesses collect and keep the entire 8 cents to recover some of the cost of providing the bags and to incentivize customers to bring their own reusable bags. The charge must be shown as a taxable sale on the receipt provided to the customer; i.e. tax should be charged on the bag fee. If a business elects to charge more than 8 cents, any amount over this minimum must be listed as a separate line item for tax purposes.

The bag fee is considered income to the business and needs to be tracked as income on the Profit & Loss statement.

RASI CLIENTS: RASI has created a standard GL that can be used to track this income.  If your business plans to charge the bag fee please submit a support request to your accounting team and they will make the GL available on the web.

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