Starting this year, Oregon will no longer allow the use of single-use bags in retail and restaurants.
According to a House Bill passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature, starting January 1, retail stores and restaurants must charge at least five cents for paper bags (with 40% or more post-consumer recycled content), reusable plastic bags (4 millimetres thick) and reusable fabric bags, as stated by a release from the State of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.
The goal of this initiative is to encourage people to switch to reusable or recycled paper bags. Single-use bags end up in recycling bins, and contaminate not only the recycling stream, but also endanger the safety of workers who are required to untangle them from recycling equipment, the release also stated.
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In addition, non-recyclable plastic bags end up as debris in the ocean, not only contaminating and polluting the water, but also threatening Oregon’s marine wildlife.
Violating the provisions of this ban will result in a maximum fine of $250. More information about the specifications of the law, exceptions, and what customers and businesses can expect, can be found here, and here.