The World Environment STOCK

COOS BAY — Effective Jan. 1, 2020 House Bill 2509 prohibits retail stores and restaurants from providing single-use checkout bags to customers, except in certain cases.

The bill also requires retailers to charge no less than five cents each for recycled paper checkout bags, reusable fabric checkout bags or reusable plastic checkout bags provided to customers. People who utilize government assistance programs like WIC, or EBT will not have to pay a bag fee.

If a store is found in violation of the law after Jan. 1, 2020 a $250 fine will be issued for each single use plastic bag given out.

This bill was first brought to state legislature in Jan. 2019, and after moving through the House and the Senate was signed into law by the governor in late June.

Exemptions include package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, greeting cards, or small hardware items, frozen food, meat, fish, flowers, a potted plant, or other item because of dampness or sanitation.

Last December, the local chapter of the environmental group Surfrider presented to the cities of North Bend and Coos Bay about the potential for city legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags. Both cities decided not to take local action on the issue, but they did support the idea of statewide regulation on plastic bags.

Currently Coos Bay and North Bend have not discussed making any changes to the bill to fit local needs. Any changes made by local amendments could only be to make the rules surrounding single-use plastic bags more strict.  

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.