Salem Bans Single Use Plastic Bags
As of April 1st plastic bags have been banned from being used at any business in the Salem, Oregon area besides restaurants. This has resulted in paper bags being provided to purchase for customers with an extra charge of five cents for each bag. Many businesses also have given customers the option to purchase reusable bags.
Due to how expensive paper bags are, retailers have to charge this pass-through cost which would actually be shown on customers receipt. For low income customers retailers have to provide a free carry out option if they request a bag, they must show an Oregon Trail Card or food assurance voucher.
“As a retail worker I see that people seem to buy less because they can only carry so much, also another issue is they don’t want to buy the bags. It sucks because the paper bags rip easily and they don’t leave as much space as a plastic bag and when you get groceries you can’t carry that much,” Ashley Sato ‘19 said.
Although plastic bags have been banned from being used there is still some ways they are being used in Salem. Plastic bags without handles are provided to customers for meat, baked goods, and even to transport produce.
“I like how plastic bags are being banned! I love it because it’s better for the environment. But from a customers point of view, it’s been kind of hard for me to remember to bring my own bags. I will get used to it though so it’s not a problem,” Janie Zaragoza ‘19 said.
Plastic bags have been a leading cause of litter. They have had a negative impact on the earth as they harm the environment in serious ways. It takes about 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. These bags get into the soil and release toxic chemicals which break down into the soil, and about 100,000 animals have unfortunately died since they eat them and choke and die.
Americans use about 100 million plastic bags a year. Which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture them. Banning plastic bags in Salem is just one step to getting them banned in all of Oregon which will bring down the usage of plastic bags yearly.