PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is just days away from having a statewide plastic bag ban take effect.
Officially called the Sustainable Shopping Initiative, the new law takes effect January 1, 2020. That’s when retails stores and restaurants can’t provide single-use plastic bags to shoppers, who will have to pay 5-cents for paper bags, reusable plastic bags and reusable fabric bags.
Restaurants, however, can still provide paper bags without a charge.
However, the bill states: “Single-use checkout bag” does not mean: (i) Package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, greeting cards or small hardware items, including nails, bolts or screws…”
Some Oregon cities have instituted plastic bag bans within the past year. Officials said this new law “generally pre-empts, or overrides, any existing local checkout bag policy.” But local governments could require a fee of more than 5-cents.
Below: Oregon info on the Sustainable Shopping Initiative
Shoppers who don’t bring a re-usable bag will pay the nickel fee at the checkout. But stores and restaurants can give reusable bags to customers using a WIC voucher or an electronic benefits transfer card.
‘Essential for the survival of our planet’
Byron Hanson, the grocery buyer at the Sheridan Fruit Company in Portland, said they’ve used paper bags since 1916. And even though they don’t use plastic bags, they’re telling their customers about the nickel charge for each bag.
“We’ve been telling people about the 5 cents. Some people are OK with it and some people are already starting to bring their own bags,” Hanson told KOIN 6 News.
But there is some confusion among grocers about certain aspects of the new law.
“We don’t know if we should be charging for, like, the smaller bags, like the 8 ounce, the 12, so those are the bags,” he said. “That wouldn’t be good if we had to charge for those smaller bags.”
Shoppers Peter Corvi and Reva Basch are in favor of the new law.
“I think it’s essential for the survival of our planet. We have to change our habits. There may be a little bit of inconvenience occasionally but I am behind it,” Basch said. “It seems like a tiny amount but it adds up over time and perhaps the annoyance factor will help people do the right thing.”
“I think it’s a really good idea considering our environment. I am looking forward to it. The biggest thing is you got to remember to put them in your car and take them to the store,” Corvi said, adding the nickel charge will make him remember to bring his bags.
Hanson also said he forgets his bags.
“Everyone forgets their bag, I forgot them in my car and all that stuff,” he said. “Let’s just remember to bring your bags in 2020.”