Bring Your Own Bag Campaign

environment-01_smThank you Edmonds residents and retailers!

Thank you Edmonds residents and retailers for your continued efforts to reduce single-use plastic checkout bags! As most shoppers and businesses are now aware, Ordinance No. 3749 became effective on August 27, 2010, prohibiting the use of single-use plastic checkout bags at all retail establishments. This only applies to checkout bags; plastic bags for meats, vegetables, bulk food or prepared food gathered within a retail store, and plastic bags for prepared food from deli counters and restaurants can still be provided to customers.

Reusable bags - A better idea

When asked "paper or plastic?" at the checkout counter, the best answer is, "Neither. I brought my own!" Reusable bags are a much better option. Most are recyclable, lightweight, durable, and washable, and can carry three to four times the amount of weight than a single-use bag. Making a conscious effort to use reusable bags instead of single-use bags is ecologically and economically beneficial. Using reusable bags conserves energy and natural resources, reduces waste in landfills, diminishes litter, and promotes a cleaner environment.

Edmonds plastic bag ordinance

In the summer of 2009, the Edmonds City Council adopted Ordinance No. 3749, which bans the use of single-use plastic checkout bags at all retail establishments. The ordinance required all retail establishments to comply with the requirements of the ordinance by the first anniversary, which was August 27, 2010. The ordinance promotes reusable bags as the best option for checkout bags and calls for an educational program to encourage the use of reusable bags. Thus, the Bring Your Own Bag campaign was born. It is intended to inform Edmonds retailers and residents about the benefits of using reusable checkout bags.

Student poster contest

A "Bring Your Own Bag for a Better Environment" poster contest was held in 2010 for students in 7th through 12th grades. Click here to view the winning posters as well as all participating posters.

How can I help?

Most importantly, be a role model to others for using reusable bags. It may only seem like you're saving a few bags here and there, but for every additional person who uses reusable bags, it all adds up to making a better environment.

Here are some simple steps you can take right now to help with the Bring Your Own Bag campaign.

At home:

  • Find uses around the house for reusing plastic and paper bags, such as lining your trash can or carrying your lunch to school or work.
  • If you have plastic or paper shopping bags that you cannot reuse, recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash.
  • Keep your reusable shopping bags in a location where you will remember them as you leave the house, or keep them in your car so you always have them with you.
  • Challenge yourself to go at least one week without accumulating any new single-use bags at home.

At the store:

  • Don't forget your reusable bags in the car! Use whatever type of reminder works best for you to make sure you grab your reusable bags on your way into the store.
  • Bring one or two more reusable bags with you into the store than you think you'll need just in case you buy more items than planned.
  • If you forget your reusable bags or don't have enough, ask the sales person for a paper bag or purchase a reusable bag from the establishment.
  • Think twice about having the retailer provide you with a single-use bag if your purchase is small and easy to carry. If you're buying more items than you can carry without a bag, ask the retailer to use as few bags as possible.
  • Avoid using single-use plastic bags as much as possible!


  • Encourage shoppers to use reusable bags by offering a credit, coupon, or discount to those who use reusable bags.
  • Sell reusable bags at or near the checkout counter, or provide a free bag to customers who spend over a certain amount.
  • Thank customers who bring in their own bags.