After a hearing held on May 18, 2018, ended in an 8-1 vote in favor of the research and drafting of a plastic bag ban in Salem, April 1 of this year marked the start of the ban. Retailers with businesses larger than 10,000 square feet had to completely cease the use of plastic shopping bags by April 1, while smaller stores will have until Sept. 1 to remove plastic bags from their stores.
The ban is intended to encourage the use of reusable bags, but shoppers looking for a disposable bag can choose paper for a five cent charge.
According to the Statesman Journal, “Salem shoppers gave mixed reviews to a ban on plastic shopping bags that took effect Monday, with some praising it and others saying they found household uses for the plastic bags.” While most customers seemed to support the idea behind the ban, there was frustration over the potential inconveniences it would cause.
This new ban affects more than just grocery stores, with stores such as Kohl’s and Ross switching over to paper as well. “However, there are exceptions. For instance, plastic bags used to carry meat or wrap around flowers are still allowed under the new rules,” Statesman Journal reported. “Stores that sell both prepared food and retail goods can only offer plastic carryout bags at checkout, according to city officials.”
While the new regulations may take time to get used to, city officials hope that this ban will help reduce the number of plastic bags ending up in our oceans.