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Plastic Bag Policy Development

The plastic bag reduction policy was developed between 2013 and 2015 through an involved process.

Staff Report on Single-Use Plastic Bag Policy in Kirkland (2013)

City staff were directed at a City Council meeting on March 19, 2013 to evaluate implementing a reduction policy on single-use plastic bags in Kirkland. The Plastic Bag Staff Report (PDF, 4mb), published in September 2013, used the “Sustainability Model” to evaluate a range of options for regulating plastic and paper bag use. The study included three case studies from other cities and surveys of Kirkland residents and Kirkland businesses, conducted by a consultant, regarding their practices and perspectives toward plastic and paper bag use and regulation.

Plastic Bag Regulation Options Evaluated (2014)

After discussion of plastic bag policy options at two Committee meetings, the City Council agreed by majority preference at the October 7, 2014 study session to move forward with an ordinance similar to those implemented by the Cities of Seattle and Issaquah, restricting the use of most single-use plastic shopping bags.

Development of Plastic Bag Reduction Policy Ordinance and Communications Plan (2015)

City Council provided input into the plastic bag reduction policy ordinance at the January 20, 2015 study session, answering questions about minimum paper bags fees, the effective date of the policy, exemptions for specific plastic bags and uses from the policy, exemptions for special groups, businesses, and organizations, and enforcement. City staff presented a proposed education and outreach plan and budget at the February 3, 2015 City Council meeting.

Adoption of the Plastic Bag Reduction Policy Ordinance (2015)

At the February 17, 2015 City Council meeting, the Council received a staff presentation on the proposed plastic bag reduction policy ordinance and voted, 6-1, to adopt the ordinance (pdf, 600kb).

Temporary Suspension of Required Bag Fee for Select Businesses (2016)

Planning & Economic Development committee members heard feedback from representatives of the Kirkland Downtown Association regarding the requirement for retailers to charge customers five cents for each large paper bag at the March 14, 2016 meeting. At the March 15, 2016 City Council meeting, the Council directed staff to develop and assess potential interim exemption alternatives to the five-cent paper bag fee requirement. Staff provided a memo including six alternatives, and at the April 5, 2016 meeting, Council directed staff to develop a revision to the ordinance that would temporarily suspend the requirement of some Kirkland retailers from charging a five cent fee for large paper bags until May 1, 2017. At the April 19, 2016 City Council meeting, the Council approved a suspension of the five-cent required fee for large paper bags for businesses based on NAICS codes.

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