At the beginning of 2013, the City of Corvallis took a big step to decrease unnecessary waste by reducing the use of single-use checkout bags in our community. The Corvallis City Council approved the “Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags” Ordinance on July 2, 2012 to encourage the use of reusable bags and on January 1, 2013, the ordinance went into effect.
This new ordinance applies to all retail establishments, except restaurants, within Corvallis city limits. Enforcement began January 1, 2013 for larger businesses (over 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs)) and July 1, 2013 for smaller businesses (50 or less FTEs).
Key elements of the ordinance:
- Single-use plastic carry out bags are prohibited at checkout or point of sale. This includes all plastic bags less than 2.25 mils thick.
- Thick plastic bags — 2.25 mils or greater — are considered reusable and may be provided with or without charge at the retailer’s discretion.
- Plastic bags provided at a time other than checkout are allowed. These include plastic bags used for meat, produce or bulk items. Plastic bags for restaurant take-out foods are also allowed.
- Customers must be charged a minimum of $.05 for any barrel size paper bag provided at checkout. Barrel size paper bags are full-sized grocery bags typical at most grocery stores. Retailers keep the revenue from the $.05 charge. Paper bags provided at a time other than checkout do not require a $.05 charge.
- Barrel size paper bags provided at checkout must contain a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content. All paper bags must be 100% recyclable, and must be capable of composting completely.
- Customers using vouchers under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program must be provided with either a reusable bag or a paper bag at no cost upon request of the customer at the point of sale.
- If a retailer is found to be in violation of the ordinance, a minimum fine of $200 will be imposed for each offense.
- The Ordinance
- FAQs for retailers (PDF)
- FAQs for shoppers (PDF)
- Ordinance notification letter sent to retail establishments May 2013 (PDF)
- Letter clarifying WIC and food stamp compliance (PEF)
- Ordinance notification letter sent to retail establishments August 2012 (PDF)
- Materials for retailers
Reminder: Reusable shopping bags can collect unhealthy germs if they are not cleaned regularly. It is recommended that shoppers keep their reusable bags clean by machine- or hand-washing them.
For additional questions, contact Scott Dybvad at (541) 766-6331 or via email.