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Oregon begins single use bag ban

Restaurants and grocery stores now have to charge 5 cents for a paper or reusable plastic bag.

PORTLAND, Ore — Oregon's new single-use bag ban went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, but we're all still adjusting to understanding what it means for our everyday shopping habits.

Single-use plastic bags can contaminate recycling streams and add to plastic debris in our waterways.

In September 2024, grocers will be asked to provide the state information on their bag fees, and how often customers used reusable plastic bags, reusable fabric bags, and recycled paper bags.

Here are 4 common questions we've heard from viewers about the plastic bag ban:

1. Where are bags banned?

Plastic bags are banned at grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores. These establishments now have to charge 5 cents for a paper or reusable plastic bag. 

2. Where does the 5-cent fee collected go?

The fee stays with the company where you shopped and will be used to cover the cost of the paper bags for the retailer.

3. What happens if stores don’t comply?

Stores can be fined a maximum fee of $250. 

4. Why are some stores still using plastic bags?

According to state law, some stores like Walmart are offering reusable plastic bags at checkouts and charging about 5-10 cents for them. Those bags are much sturdier than regular plastic bags, and Walmart representatives say they should last more than 100 shopping trips if cleaned thoroughly. 

Other states including New York, Hawaii and California have banned single-use bags.

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