City of Tumwater OKs plastic grocery-bag ban

TUMWATER, Wash. (AP) - The Tumwater City Council has voted to ban plastic grocery-style bags, starting July 1.

The council voted Tuesday on the ban, becoming the first government in Thurston County to do so. Seattle imposed a ban last year, as did Bellingham. A ban in Issaquah took place in March, but foes of the ban there have submitted petition signatures in support of an initiative.

Once the ban takes effect in Tumwater next July, shoppers who don't bring their own reusable bags will pay 5 cents per paper bag to offset stores' costs. Plastic bags that are used for meat or produce, and thicker plastic shopping bags provided by some retailers, are exempt from the ban, as are newspaper bags, doggie bags and dry cleaning bags.

The Thurston County Commission could approve a bag ban as early as next week, and the City of Olympia is expected to follow.