Production and Design

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.

This change was approved by the 2019 Oregon Legislature, which passed the Sustainable Shopping Initiative (House Bill 2509).

Under HB 2509, DEQ is responsible for preparing a legislative report in 2025 on customers’ use of bags at grocery stores. However, as DEQ has received more general inquiries about HB 2509, we’ve created this webpage as a resource for local governments, businesses and the public to understand the basics of the new checkout bag requirements and where to turn for more detailed information.
 

 

By encouraging the switch to reusable or recycled paper bags, Oregon can reduce the amount of bags that are used once and thrown out, while also addressing a significant problem for Oregon’s recycling programs: plastic bags. When plastic bags end up in recycling bins, they can contaminate the recycling stream and endanger the safety of workers who must untangle them from recycling equipment. This is also a positive first step toward addressing the large amount of plastic debris in the oceans, which threatens Oregon’s marine wildlife.
Consumers who do not bring reusable bags can expect to pay a small fee at the register. This fee helps offset the cost businesses pay to purchase more sustainable bags. This fee can vary by store and city or county. Some bags, such as those for bulk items and privacy purposes, are not subject to the ban. Retail stores and restaurants may provide certain reusable bags for free to customers using a WIC voucher or electronic benefits transfer card.
After Jan. 1, 2020, retail stores and restaurants can no longer provide single-use bags and must charge a fee in most cases for certain types of reusable bags. Under HB 2509, the fee must be at least five cents, but local governments can set the fee higher in their jurisdiction. (HB 2509’s five-cent charge has been described as a floor, not a ceiling.) To learn more about the fee in your area, DEQ recommends contacting your local government.

​Retail stores

  • No fee required 
    • Reusable fabric bags, if offered as a promotion. (No more that 12 days per year)
  • Fee required
    • Recycled paper bags
    • Reusable plastic bags 
    • Reusable fabric bags
  • Prohibited
    • Single-use bags

Restautants

  • No fee requered
    • Recycled paper bags
  • Fee required
    • Reusable plasitc bags
  • Prohibited
    • Single-use bags
The single-use checkout bag ban does not apply to bags provided to customers at a time other than checkout, which includes:
 
  • Bags designed to hold bulk items such as small hardware or for sanitary or privacy purposes;
  • Certain specialty bags, such as garment bags;
  • Bags sold in a package for uses such as food storage, garbage or pet waste.
 
Retail stores may provide recycled paper checkout bags or reusable plastic checkout bags for free to customers using a WIC voucher or electronic benefits transfer card. They may also offer reusable fabric bags for free as a promotion on 12 or fewer days in a year. Restaurants may provide reusable plastic checkout bags for free to customers using an electronic benefits transfer.
A violation of the provisions of HB 2509 is a Class D violation subject to a maximum fine of $250. Class D violations are enforced by law enforcement officers, who may issue a citation to a retailer or restaurant. Each day a retailer or restaurant commits a violation is considered a new offense. HB 2509 allows a different penalty to be set under local provisions, so check with local jurisdictions for specific questions about enforcement. A restaurant or retail store can be charged with a violation under either the local provision or the penalty specified in HB 2509, but not both. DEQ recommends checking with local jurisdictions to learn more about enforcement in your area.
Businesses keep the fee, which allows them to recover costs in providing reusable bags.
Yes, if they are retail establishments that primarily sell groceries. By Sep. 15, 2024, grocers must provide DEQ with information on collection of bag fees and customers’ usage of recycled paper, reusable fabric and reusable plastic checkout bags. DEQ must submit a report about this information to the legislature by Sep. 15, 2025.
HB 2509 generally preempts, or overrides, any existing local checkout bag policy. However, under HB 2509, a city, county or other local government may
 
  • adopt or amend a local provision to require a higher fee—as long as the local provision retains the same definitions, requirements and restrictions of HB 2509;
  • adopt, amend or enforce a local provision to impose a penalty other than the penalty established under HB 2509—but a restaurant or retail store can only be charged with a violation under either the local provision or HB 2509.
 
Aside from setting a higher fee and penalty in their jurisdictions, local governments may not adopt local provisions with definitions, requirements or restrictions that differ from HB 2509.

 

Questions?

For additional information on HB 2509, visit the OregonLegislative Information System website to access the full bill and materials.
 
If you are a business looking for information about local fees, please contact your local government.