Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

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storewanderer
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Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » June 11th, 2019, 9:09 pm

This one even extends to restaurants. However, it does not require restaurants to charge a bag fee like it will to retailers. The bag fee at 5 cents, is well below cost for paper bags and thick plastic bags, so this will probably not help the retailer's bottom lines much... probably will be a sideways move at best.

In Canada at this point the majority of retailers, even places like TJ Maxx, are charging a 5 cent fee for the thin plastic bags... that is getting them some profit as the bags don't cost that much. Some of the retailers are donating the bag fees to non-profits... after "administration costs for bag reduction program" whatever that means. But this is definitely causing fewer people to take bags. And at least it is still the thin bags that you can re-use for trash or pet litter. Unlike the super thick California bags which are not really reusable and just releasing 10X more plastic into the waste stream. Terrible legislation in California.

It is all fine. Less purchasing from the retail stores and more purchasing from online with this type of garbage legislation. I got some orders recently that had so much plastic air padding inside the boxes, I poked all of the air padding and still filled up a thin grocery bag with all that plastic air padding which has zero re-use (unless I have a pallet of glass mugs or cases to re-sell). Not to mention the cardboard boxes which at least can go to recycling (who knows if they end up getting recycled).

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Super S » December 30th, 2019, 8:45 pm

This bill becomes law on Jan. 1st. A change I have already noticed is that Subway has changed to paper bags instead of the plastic they usually place sandwiches in.

I wonder how long it will be before all of Washington ends up like this.

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Alpha8472 » December 30th, 2019, 9:54 pm

California has had 10 cent bags for years. You will notice that many customers will blindly pay for bags repeatedly and forget to bring reusable bags. The rest either carry their items with no bag. A small number of people will bring reusable bags.

Restaurants in California have switched to paper bags mostly. However, some restaurants have the thick plastic bags. Even thicker plastic bags now litter the streets.

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » December 30th, 2019, 10:13 pm

The OR law is a little tougher than the CA law since it applies to all retailers and also to restaurants. But it will be interesting to see what the reaction of those who pushed this scam is, if the super thick plastic bags are used by many retailers in OR and paper bags aren't even offered, as is the case with many CA retailers subject to this scam of a law. The other issue with the OR law is the 5 cent fee, is well below the actual cost of the bags. The super thick plastic bags cost the retailer about 8 cents and the paper bags have a cost between 9 cents and 13 cents depending on the bag size, handle or not, and retailer's bag purchasing arrangement.

The CA law is largely a joke. Since it only applies to liquor-selling businesses (so, grocery, drug, and convenience stores), numerous other businesses continue to use thin plastic bags in California. Go to a shopping mall in California and the thin bags continue to flow freely at every store in the mall. In the rural grocery and drug stores, frequently, I am not charged for bags. The thick plastic 10 cent bags are often overpacked to only use one bag, and puncture as a result. So much for re-use, except maybe for a light bathroom trash can.

Those super thick bags are probably 10-15x thicker than the old thin bags were. Is the amount of plastic waste really being reduced? I understand the number of bags is being reduced, but is the actual amount of plastic waste being reduced with the CA law? I have my doubts, especially in the rural areas.

I expect the CA law will eventually be modified to allow the thin bags again, keep the 10 cent fee, but make part of the 10 cent fee go back to the store and part of the fee a tax, and apply to all retailers. This will be a rip off to consumers, bring in new tax revenue for the State, and bring in more profit to the retailer on the bag sale. This also will solve the situation where the WIC/Food Stamp users in CA receive free super thick bags. In some locations with a high amount of such transactions, the bag cost is very high. Allowing the thin bags again will help make that not such a costly activity for grocers who are already operating in high cost inner city type locations.

With all the problems in these states with homeless population, healthcare issues, increased crime, increased traffic due to overdevelopment/overcrowding, etc., regulating how people carry groceries home should not even be on the list of these legislatures. All who passed these laws deserve to be fired. The same goes for those legislatures who are passing "no bag bans allowed" laws in certain other states. Seriously, with all of the issues that could actually help people, why is this even getting one breath of air?

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Super S » December 31st, 2019, 6:57 am

storewanderer wrote:
December 30th, 2019, 10:13 pm


With all the problems in these states with homeless population, healthcare issues, increased crime, increased traffic due to overdevelopment/overcrowding, etc., regulating how people carry groceries home should not even be on the list of these legislatures. All who passed these laws deserve to be fired. The same goes for those legislatures who are passing "no bag bans allowed" laws in certain other states. Seriously, with all of the issues that could actually help people, why is this even getting one breath of air?
Oregon, specifically the Portland area, has most of those issues. The most obvious two are the homeless population (which is setting up all over including next to freeways) and traffic (due to no new major freeways or roads being constructed, and an outdated Interstate 5 bridge, one span which is over 100 years old and predates the Interstate system. Roads are at capacity.)

Oregon has historically been attractive for tax-free shopping, but some of this will be offset by bag fees. It probably will not affect retailers like Costco or Best Buy where many purchases are larger and don't require bags (or the fact Costco uses boxes) but some other retailers already on the edge could be impacted. Clothing stores come to mind especially during rainy season where paper simply doesn't protect your purchase as well. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I remember the Emporium chain here years ago offering free gift wrapping year-round. Could we see something like that as a work-around?

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » December 31st, 2019, 9:44 am

It gets very weird when fast food is required to charge a bag fee as well which is the case in some cities. San Francisco. Anchorage (may have already been amended there).

How do you do reusable bags at a drive through? Previously health codes prohibited any outside containers in a restaurant due to food safety concerns. Why is this suddenly being encouraged?

Where it is most funny is for instance you have a bakery that sells bread. The bag is the "package" for the bread so that bag is not subject to a bag fee because it is the package. But if you buy a few small wrapped in plastic wrap cookies and put them into that very same bag, then the bag is subject to a bag fee.

Five Guys and fries is another example. Their paper bag is part of the "packaging" for the fries so again not subject to a bag fee. But a burger only order in the very same bag would be subject to a fee.

In N Out will give your order in a bag or box. In a place with bag fees they can just give you a box. The box creates a lot more waste than the paper bag does.

Again I continue to question why we are regulating this when there are much bigger problems. I guess because this is easy to regulate.

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by BillyGr » December 31st, 2019, 11:07 am

storewanderer wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 9:44 am
How do you do reusable bags at a drive through? Previously health codes prohibited any outside containers in a restaurant due to food safety concerns. Why is this suddenly being encouraged?
Seems simple enough - they had you the items without a bag and you put them into your bag inside your car. That way, no issue with the reused bag going into the food prep areas. Same would work for to go orders inside - give it to you on a tray like an eat-in and then you bag it yourself.
storewanderer wrote:
June 11th, 2019, 9:09 pm
The bag fee at 5 cents, is well below cost for paper bags and thick plastic bags, so this will probably not help the retailer's bottom lines much... probably will be a sideways move at best.

Unlike the super thick California bags which are not really reusable and just releasing 10X more plastic into the waste stream.

I poked all of the air padding and still filled up a thin grocery bag with all that plastic air padding which has zero re-use (unless I have a pallet of glass mugs or cases to re-sell). Not to mention the cardboard boxes which at least can go to recycling (who knows if they end up getting recycled).
Doubt the fee was designed to offset the cost of the bag completely (which it wouldn't have to, as the stores were paying the full cost of the cheaper bags, so that amount can go towards the more costly ones with the extra 5 cents helping on the difference).

One might think that the idea with the thicker plastic bags was that people would pay for them once then bring them back several times until they wore out (as they should hold up better, being heavier to start with) - of course there is no guarantee people will actually catch on to that idea...

On that "air padding" check the number - it may very well be the same as the store bags and then could go with those, or possibly recyclable elsewhere if it is a different #.

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » December 31st, 2019, 7:46 pm

BillyGr wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 11:07 am


Seems simple enough - they had you the items without a bag and you put them into your bag inside your car. That way, no issue with the reused bag going into the food prep areas. Same would work for to go orders inside - give it to you on a tray like an eat-in and then you bag it yourself.



Doubt the fee was designed to offset the cost of the bag completely (which it wouldn't have to, as the stores were paying the full cost of the cheaper bags, so that amount can go towards the more costly ones with the extra 5 cents helping on the difference).

One might think that the idea with the thicker plastic bags was that people would pay for them once then bring them back several times until they wore out (as they should hold up better, being heavier to start with) - of course there is no guarantee people will actually catch on to that idea...

On that "air padding" check the number - it may very well be the same as the store bags and then could go with those, or possibly recyclable elsewhere if it is a different #.
So, there are numerous problems with that at a drive through. First, the cashier who is handling cash is handling your items which in some cases are exposed (fries) and that is a sanitation issue. The other issue is a speed of service issue because handing the bag out is a timed process and if you are handing out 3-5 individual items that is taking the time it previously took to hand out 3-5 bags before. Also, I do not think greasy fast food lends well to reusable bags, given the water and soap and energy that would be wasted to wash them and clean the grease. You certainly would not want to use the same reusable bags for groceries (raw meat, produce, etc.) as fast food.

Another irony in San Francisco specifically: a fee on bags at fast food. No fee on bags from "leftovers" at a sit down restaurant. I am assuming the people who pushed the law do not use fast food, but do use sit down restaurants, and did not want to be bothered with a bag fee in that type of environment that they frequent.

The fee is designed to offset the cost of the bags and that is the whole reason that some of the stores and retailer associations support the whole thing. The stores are not supportive of this at all where the fee is not mandatory in places like NY or in some PA cities. In the end it is all about the money. Nothing to do with the environment.

I should look into this on the next order I get full of air padding. Unlike the single use plastic bags that I re-use quite quickly after getting them for trash, carrying lunch, or other things, I have years supply of air padding in a box in the closet that I have no idea when I will go through.

I will also add the paper bags do not re-use as well as plastic ones. But they can go straight into the recycling which may or may not even be being recycled, but it is the thought that counts I suppose. I use some of those for trash and multiple times they rip as I am carrying them out. I am not in a rainy climate but if I was, those bags would be super annoying because they just fall apart in the rain.

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by Super S » January 5th, 2020, 10:15 am

Something that I wonder about is how many people living on the border of Oregon and Washington & Idaho (and perhaps Nevada although SE Oregon is sparsely populated) are crossing the border to avoid bag fees and/or still obtain plastic bags (which some people re-use for garbage bags among other things) when buying groceries. Keep in mind that Washington has no sales tax on food, however, Idaho's sales tax applies to groceries. For what it's worth, in Vancouver, Washington, there are two Fred Meyer stores as well as one Walmart very close to the border, and Safeway and WinCo stores only a few miles away. And another area to watch is Longview, which has several grocery stores to choose from, where Rainier, Oregon's only true grocery store is a Grocery Outlet. Traffic can be a factor at certain times, but the tax exemption never applied to groceries in Washington to begin with. Yes it would be a further drive, but also more convenient when you don't have to constantly fumble with bags and fees.

Also, in those stores with self-checkout, how are they going to police people actually paying the bag fees? Will using a bag make the machine lock up until you agree to a fee?

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Re: Oregon Senate Passes Thin Plastic Bag Ban

Post by storewanderer » January 5th, 2020, 10:24 am

I think the overall lack of sales tax in OR makes shopping there attractive despite any added bag fee if you are on a border.

The self checkouts prompt the customer to enter the numbet of bags used at the end of the transaction. Some stores, specifically Winco and some Walmart locations I have been to, have no bags at the self checkout and the employee has to be asked and then bring bags and I assume ensure you put the fee on. Every other store like Safeway, the stores in Canada that fee for bags, etc. just has bags at self checkout. I've watched numerous customers both here and in Canada who take bags then enter "0" at the end of the transaction for bags used. If paying with a foodstamp card in California that would be the instruction but these people are always using cash or credit. Not sure on the ones I've observed up in Canada. It seems nobody really cares. Rural stores in California frequently do not even charge the bag fee. Maybe a higher bag fee like .25 would make the chains a little more aggressive about making sure it is actually charged.

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