A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Oregon’s great bag switch is at hand

Written December 30th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Plastic carry-out bags were furnished here until Sunday. By Monday they were gone, two days before the deadline.

You have to admit there’s a certain amount of suspense over how Albany retailers will handle the legislature’s ban on plastic carry-out bags, which takes effect Wednesday.

On Sunday at Fred Meyer, you could get still get all the plastic bags you wanted to take. On Monday, though, two days before the deadline, they were gone. They were replaced by stacks of paper bags. (These paper bags had no handles, which probably makes little difference except to people who stop by on a bike ride for an impromptu purchase, the kind they used to hang from the handle bar.)

At Bi-Mart in Albany, they made the switch a day or two earlier. Only paper bags were available Saturday. A checker told me they had run out of plastic bags and there was no point in ordering more.

As for those paper bags, the law on bags says retailers have to charge their customers a nickel apiece except on up to 12 days a year during promotions. I’m waiting to see how this mandate will be carried out at self check-out stations.

Will there be an honor system? Or will somebody be detailed to count the bags customers take? And will the scanner screens have to be reprogrammed to add a button and display that asks: “If you took our paper bags, how many?”

Whether or not the suspense is killing you, you’ll have to wait till Wednesday to find out. (hh)

No-handle paper bags ready to be picked up at a Fred Meyer self check-out station Monday.

23 responses to “Oregon’s great bag switch is at hand”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that this ban is an illegitimate exercise of government force.

    Will this ban save the planet in some small way? Nope.

    Plenty of studies have found that paper bags are worse for the environment.

    And cloth bags? A study by the Danish government found that cloth bags are worse than plastic bags. They estimate that you would have to use a cotton bag 20,000 times more than a plastic grocery bag to improve the environment. That’s once a week for 385 years.

    Hey, if behaving like sheep satisfies you, by all means, join the flock and bleat your support for the ban.

  2. Al Nyman says:

    I googled plastic waste in the ocean and the US is responsible for 1% of the total. Guess what 4 countries contribute well over 80%? Trust a liberal to swat a fly while 10000 killer bees are attacking him!

  3. Bob Sattem says:

    So now lets start the next step. Banning plastic everything. Plastic bicycle helmets, baseball helmets, Plastic car lens, Plastic in cars. Plastic in phones. Plastic wrap, tarps made with plastic. Plastic toys, plastic bottles and plastic packaging. Lets get rid of plastic at the same time we get rid of fossile fuels. Lets just go back to living in caves with wood fires.

  4. J. Jacobson says:

    Inside of 6-months, Hasso will be the only Oregonian still talking about this non-issue.

  5. Terry Fuston says:

    You should be in the habit of using a backpack or hydration pack to take home small purchases if you are on a bike. :/

  6. Mac says:

    You could have answered all your own questions by heading over to Corvallis shopping the last few years. Basically a non-issue.

    • NancyM. says:

      Corvallis has handles on their paper bags and hot drink cups made from paper
      leak even when they use two at a time.

    • Johnny Scot Van Ras says:


      My wife shopped a retailer in Corvallis. At checkout, she was asked if she brought her own bags? When she answered “No”, retailer said they would charge her a nickle for a bag. She had just made a $150 purchase and they wanted to charge her a nickle for a paper bag. Needless to say, we no longer shop Corvallis retailers. Why does government mandate a bag fee?

  7. My Real Name John Hardman says:

    Give me my plastic bags…or give me death.

  8. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    American novelist Karen Bender made an insightful observation:

    “Don’t go into any store that features shopping bags that can stand on their own accord in the middle of a table. This sort of shopping bag denotes prices that will start chipping into your children’s college education fund. Avoid it.”

  9. centrist says:

    Many of the usual suspects carry on as though they’ve been gored by libruls.
    The real news is that JH has another alias

  10. H. R. Richner says:

    It is high time that we get rid of our wannabe totalitarian state government. Enough with the Orwellian regulations! Just imagine what we all could achieve by keeping to ourselves all that tribute we send to Salem instead.

    • My Real Name John Hartman says:

      Help me to understand. We have a pathological liar who adores Putin sitting in the White House and there is such concern over plastic bags?

  11. Lundy says:

    If cotton bags are that bad relative to plastic bags maybe the seriously green should start wearing plastic clothes.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      People are more likely to wash their clothes than cotton bags.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      They already do wear plastic clothes. Ever hear of polyester, nylon, acrylic, lycra, or spandex?

      And they can’t avoid plastics if they drive a modern car or fly in a modern jet to go to a protest.

      And they can’t wear nerdy glasses to the protest, either. Or participate in sports. Or support wind turbines. Or wear Nike shoes.

      God forbid they ever need a prosthetic limb or a stent.

  12. Cap says:

    The right-wing nutcases are out in full force to comment on the plastic bags. Give us a break, will ‘ya?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Or you’re a Left Wing Nutcase and the rest are middle of the road.
      You seem to be out in “enough force” to comment.
      Typical hypocrisy as normal.

  13. NancyM. says:

    Very sorry to see plastic bags go. Personally, recycled mine several times and usually
    walked to the store (3.5 mi RT) and groceries stay dry in 9 mos of Oregon rain. We all
    don’t own cars or have fund to ride taxis or patience to wait for late buses.

  14. ean says:

    I just want to see a carbon tax and dividend. These kinds of individual laws that target one specific environmental problem don’t really accomplish much at the end of the day. A carbon tax and dividend would have the biggest effect on lowering carbon emissions and would allow the free market to pick the winners and losers.

  15. John Klock says:

    Plastic particles contaminate the world from the beaches to the fish. American plastic bottles wash up on the shores of the Philippines and Australia. These are facts. One has only to travel, ask, and see the waste. Just as human ingenuity created plastic, so too, can it get rid of it, and yes, it takes a community, working together, talking, and collaborating to solve the problem, not the rugged individualism of an era gone where the population density was low and the frontiers were abundant. I don’t think about the problem in the present political context, I think about your grandchildren and mine.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Well stated… While is also true that things we do in Albany (and Oregon) will have a small effect globally, it is sheer folly to believe doing nothing is a better outcome. But hey! “I got mine, the hell with future generations…”


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering