Oregon's statewide plastic bag ban starts next week, New Years Day

Credit: City of Medford

Things could be very different the next time you go out to the grocery store, so here's what you need to know to be prepared.

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 12:20 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 3:57 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Starting next Wednesday, Oregon lawmakers' ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores takes effect. For Oregonians, the may mean making some preparations before the next trip to load up on groceries and other goods.

While many stores have already begun to make the transition — swapping out the usual rows of plastic bags for free paper ones while preparing for the coming change — on New Years Day, that transition will be over.

Customers who don't bring reuseable grocery bags to transport their groceries will have to pay five cents per paper bag provided by the business. Plastic bags used for produce, bulk foods, or meat are exempt from the ban and charge.


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"Consumers who do not bring reusable bags can expect to pay a small fee at the register," the state says in an online explainer. "This fee helps offset the cost businesses pay to purchase more sustainable bags. This fee can vary by store and city or county."

The "Sustainable Shopping Initiative," the bill that contained the ban, prohibits single-use plastic bags at all retail stores and restaurants. However, it allows some wiggle room. For a fee, stories can provide recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags or reusable fabric bags. Restaurants in particular can offer paper bags for free. Retail stores can offer fabric bags for free on a temporary promotional basis.

Stores can also continue to sell single-use bags to consumers — kitchen garbage bags, for instance.

The law allows for cities and counties to increase the fee for not bringing reusable bags if they decided to do so. Meanwhile, businesses will have to report to the state with information on the fees they've gathered By September of 2024.

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