New Oregon Plastic Bag Ban Encourages BYOB

In order to have the biggest impact on the environment, we promote the 3 R’s (reduce/refuse, reuse and recycling).

We were very excited when the plastic bag bill was approved at the state level, called House Bill 2509.

“Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Oregon retail stores and restaurants can no longer provide single-use checkout bags. They also must, in most instances, charge at least five cents for paper bags (with 40% or more post-consumer recycled content), reusable plastic bags (4 mils thick) and reusable fabric bags although restaurants may still provide paper bags at no cost.”

Oregon DEQ website

To avoid a 5 cent charge, customers are incentivized to bring their own bags (BYOB) to the store, thus avoiding the production and transportation of plastic bags made from oil.

As we’ve seen from the great work at Nossa Familia (charging for disposable coffee cups), making consumers pay extra for disposable items works better than giving them a discount.

However, that won’t change everyone’s behavior. Sometimes the intention is good, but there are other barriers to doing the right thing. These include lack of reusable bags, forgetting to bring them with you, lack of education, and not having the right size or enough bags.

We recently found an app (BagMindr) you can download for free on your smartphone that reminds you to bring your bags when you get physically close to your favorite grocery store.

Bagmindr allows you to select your favorite stores, and uses your GPS to determine when you are close by (about half a mile away). It pops up a reminder on your phone, so your less likely to leave your bags in the car. It won’t stop you from leaving your bags in your house, so you’ll need a system to replace your bags in your vehicle, purse or backpack after each use.

Know someone who is struggling to remember their bags? Let them know about this cool app!