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Plastic bag ban passes House

In this March 27, 2019 photo, plastic bags are tangled in the branches of a tree in New York City's East Village neighborhood. A bill banning plastic bags in Washington passed the House Saturday. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
In this March 27, 2019 photo, plastic bags are tangled in the branches of a tree in New York City's East Village neighborhood. A bill banning plastic bags in Washington passed the House Saturday. (Mary Altaffer / AP)

OLYMPIA – Single-use plastic bags would be banned in Washington to encourage reusable bags starting next year, and stores would be required to charge 8 cents for paper bags, under a bill that passed the House Saturday.

Critics complained that charging customers for paper bags, and charging a sales tax if they needed multiple paper bags, would anger voters. But supporters said the change would help the environment by removing plastic that is sometimes discarded and eventually finds its way into streams, rivers and the ocean, and provides a boost for the timber industry by increasing the demand for paper bags.

“We really struggle to keep our little mill towns open,” Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, said. “This breathes new life and opportunity into them.”

The bill passed on a 67-29 vote and was sent to the Senate to approve changes from the version that passed that chamber. It would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

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