Single-Use Plastic Bags Prohibited at Salem Large Retailers Effective April 1

Author:Suny Group

The ban on single-use plastic bags, approved by Salem City Council last year, will go into effect starting April 1, 2019.

Accordingly, large retailers such as Costco, Walmart and Fred Meyer throughout the city will stop giving out plastic bags at checkouts. The ban will extend to other retailers by September 1, 2019, so that no retailer in Salem will be allowed to offer plastic shopping bags to customers. However, individual businesses could request the City to extend the deadline by not more than 6 months, provided they are able to prove that implementation of the ban cause “undue hardship” to them.

The proposed ban will mainly cover plastic carryout bags, compostable bags, biodegradable bags and thicker plastic bags. It does not include reusable bags and recyclable paper bags. Also, it exempts certain categories of bags such as the ones used for carrying items such as meat, vegetables, fruits, bakery items, flowers and pharmacy prescriptions. Also, stores will be allowed to offer alternative paper bags by charging at least 5 cents per bag, which is intended to encourage customers to bring reusable bags when they come for shopping. The charge must be shown on customers’ receipts.

The proposal to ban plastic bags in Salem had its first reading before the Council in August last year.