While Los Angeles County and the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Kuai have implemented similar bans, Seatlle is now the largest US city to outlaw plastic bags.
The law states simply that, "No retail establishment in the City shall provide a single-use plastic carryout bag to any customer."
The Seattle council voted to charge a 20-cent fee on paper and plastic bags in 2008, but the plastics industry spent $1.4 million backing a referendum to overturn it, according to KEPR TV.
Plastic Ban Report explains that the ordinance cites the Washington State Legislature in RCW 70.95.010(4) which found that it is “necessary to change manufacturing and purchasing practices and waste generation behaviors to reduce the amount of waste that becomes a governmental responsibility.”
Seattle currently uses approximately 292 million plastic bags annually, only 13% of which are recycled, according to Seattle Public Utilities. But that will all change when the new law takes effect July 1, 2012.