Sustainable Practices

The City of Bainbridge Island has a history of trend-setting in sustainable practices including:

  • In 1989, the city prohibited retail food establishments from using non-biodegradable packaging (Styrofoam).
  • In 1991, the city ensured that recycling facilities were available, affordable, and convenient to all residents to encourage reduced waste.
  • In 1996, the city ceased using chemicals for vegetation control along roadways.
  • In 2003, the city ceased using pesticides.
  • In 2012, the city took another big step forward in reducing litter and unnecessary waste, protecting water and wildlife, and saving money by reducing the use of plastic bags in our community. The City Council approved the Single Use Carry Out Bag Ordinance (commonly known as the "plastic bag ban") in April.

Plastic Bag Ban

Bainbridge Island's plastic bag ban went into effect November 1, 2012. Key elements of Ordinance 2012-06 (PDF) include:

  • Single-use plastic carry out bags are prohibited. This includes all plastic bags less than 2.25-milometers thick provided at check out or point of sale.
  • Customers (except those who document federal or state food assistance) must be charged five cents per large paper bag. Retailers keep the revenue from the five-cent charge, which is taxable and must be shown on sales receipts.
  • Large paper bags requiring the five-cent charge must be a minimum of 40% post-consumer, recycled fiber and the fiber content must be marked on the outside.
  • Smaller paper bags may be provided with or without charge at the store's discretion.
  • Thick plastic bags, 2.25-milometers or greater, are deemed reusable and may be provided with or without charge at the store's discretion.
  • Plastic bags used for restaurant take-out foods and meats and produce in grocery stores will still be allowed, because of the public health functions they provide.

Additional Information

For more information, read the FAQs.