Salem Plastic Bag Law Takes Effect As Lawmakers Consider Statewide Ban

Mar 29, 2019

Shoppers in Salem may need to find a new routine starting Monday. That's when the city is banning single-use plastic bags at large retail outlets.

Plastic shopping bags like these will be banned in Salem starting April 1, 2019.
Credit Chris Lehman / KLCC

Salem’s new law will require stores to charge customers at least a nickel for paper bags. The fee will be waived for customers using public assistance programs to purchase their groceries. The city has been running ads to remind shoppers of the new ordinance and to urge people to make it a habit to bring along their own bags.

By September, the law will apply to all retail stores, regardless of size, including convenience stores and those that primarily sell non-food items. Grocery stores will still be permitted to provide plastic bags at produce and meat displays.

Portland, Eugene, Covallis and a handful of smaller cities have already banned single-use plastic bags at most retail outlets. Plastic bag regulations take effect later this year in Bend, Lake Oswego and Silverton. 

It comes as state lawmakers are considering whether to extend a similar ban statewide. The bill is up for a possible committee vote on Tuesday.