Renton starts campaign to reduce plastic bag use

The “Bring Your Own Bag” campaign encourages residents to use reusable bags when shopping.

You know the four Rs — reuse, reduce, recycle and remember to bring your own bag to the grocery store.

The city of Renton is hoping to discourage the use of plastic bags and instead encourage the use of reusable bags with “Bring Your Own Bag” campaign, which officially kicks off in April.

The campaign was largely started by the number of residents who contacted the city regarding plastic bag use, according to Jina Kim, senior program specialist at Solid Waste Utility.

“This is something we’ve been looking at exploring for the past few years,” Kim said. “We’re finally able to bring it to the community and we’re going to start with a campaign to voluntarily reduce plastic bag use. We’re also trying to look at other options to try and look at what the community thinks about plastic bag use and gathering input to better inform how we’re going to move forward.”

Solid Waste Utility has created a survey regarding plastic bag use, which was made public recently and will be open until June 6. To complete the survey, visit A printed survey can be mailed to those who are unable to complete the survey online.

The Solid Waste Utility department will also be sending a survey to local businesses regarding their thoughts about the matter.

City staff will be making recommendations to City Council after collecting input from the surveys.

The department is also looking into public outreach and education to encourage residents to rethink using plastic bags. Staff members plan on utilizing social media, community events and newsletters to spread the word.

“Any sort of voluntary behavior change is hard,” Kim said. “We are creatures of habit and we have a way of doing things. Change is hard but we do our best to educate the public and remind them what it is the right thing to do. The hardest thing for the public is remembering the bags. I think a lot of people want to bring reusable bags instead of using plastic bags, but they forget to bring the bags to the store and forget it in the car. [This campaign aims] to remind the public to bring their reusable bags. We’re coming up with different ideas how to best do that, as well as talk to other cities and communities that have done this process before.”

Solid Waste Utility also has signs for local business to remind customers to bring their reusable bags.

To receive printed signs or a printed public survey, or for other questions, email jkim@rentonwa.govor call 425-430-7391.