Ellensburg retailers to charge 5 cents per bag starting Jan. 1

Ellensburg retailers to charge 5 cents per bag starting Jan. 1

Ellensburgers may soon want to invest in some reusable bags.

Starting Jan. 1, all retail stores will be required to charge five cents per each paper or plastic bag they distribute to customers.

Some exceptions include plastic bags used in stores for bulk items or to protect vegetables, meat, fish and poultry, frozen foods, flowers and deli foods.

Plastic bags are allowed for take-out food orders with no charge, but the city is urging restaurants to use recyclable paper bags instead.

Customers participating WIC, TANF, SNAP or FAP are also exempt.

City officials adopted the new ordinance in November 2016 as a way to encourage consumers to reduce waste.

Experts say the United States uses tens of billions of disposable bags a year, only a small percentage of which are recycled.