In 2019, the Oregon State Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2509 regulating single-use checkout bags used at retailers and restaurants beginning January 1, 2020. This State law supersedes existing carryout bag laws many cities had already enacted, including Salem. HB 2509 does not permit enforcement of local bag laws with different definitions or requirements, so Salem City Council repealed Salem Revised Code (SRC) Chapter 48. The State Department of Environmental Quality has information online to help businesses and customers understand the new State law.
Salem's repealed carryout bag law
From April 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, SRC Chapter 48 restricted the use of plastic carryout bags in Salem.
- On April 1, 2019, large retailers with stores over 10,000 square feet could no longer distribute plastic carryout bags at checkout in order to help protect the environment, animal and human health, and to reduce liter.
- Small retail businesses had until September 1, 2019 to comply.
- All retail businesses, including grocery and convenience stores, apparel and department stores, and local markets were impacted.
- Retailers could provide recyclable paper bags, charging a fee of no less than five cents per bag, or reusable bags for customers to carry away purchases.
- Restaurants and prepared food providers could still distribute plastic carryout bags.
- For stores that sold both retail items and prepared food items, plastic carryout bags could only be given at checkout for prepared food items.
- Any plastic bag without handles provided to a customer for use within a retail establishment to get products to the point of sale were still allowed.
On May 14, 2018, City Council passed a motion directing staff to research and prepare an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags in the City of Salem, and schedule a public hearing before City Council.
The public hearing for the proposed ordinance was opened on September 10, 2018, and was continued until October 22, 2018.
Second reading of the ordinance occurred November 26, 2018. The ordinance was approved.