Oregon's single-use plastic bag ban starts on New Year's Day.
Oregon retail stores and restaurants can no longer provide single-use checkout bags. They also must, in most instances, charge at least five cents for paper bags (with 40% or more post-consumer recycled content), reusable plastic bags (4 mils thick) and reusable fabric bags although restaurants may still provide paper bags at no cost, according to the Oregon DEQ.
This change was approved by the 2019 Oregon Legislature, which passed the Sustainable Shopping Initiative.
The goal is to reduce the number of plastic bags that are thrown out.
The single-use checkout bag ban does not apply to bags provided to customers at a time other than checkout, which includes:
- Bags designed to hold bulk items such as small hardware or for sanitary or privacy purposes
- Certain specialty bags, such as garment bags
- Bags sold in a package for uses such as food storage, garbage or pet waste
Retail stores may provide recycled paper checkout bags or reusable plastic checkout bags for free to customers using a WIC voucher or electronic benefits transfer card. They may also offer reusable fabric bags for free as a promotion on 12 or fewer days in a year. Restaurants may provide reusable plastic checkout bags for free to customers using an electronic benefits transfer.
A violation of the provisions of HB 2509 is a Class D violation subject to a maximum fine of $250. Class D violations are enforced by law enforcement officers, who may issue a citation to a retailer or restaurant. Each day a retailer or restaurant commits a violation is considered a new offense. HB 2509 allows a different penalty to be set under local provisions, so check with local jurisdictions for specific questions about enforcement. A restaurant or retail store can be charged with a violation under either the local provision or the penalty specified in HB 2509, but not both. DEQ recommends checking with local jurisdictions to learn more about enforcement in your area.
The 5-cents collected by grocery stores for paper bags goes to the store to help off-set the higher cost of the paper bag.