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Single-use plastic bag ban leaves businesses scrambling

A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in restaurants and retail stores has left some small businesses in Springfield scrambling to get into compliance.

Posted: Jan 7, 2020 6:41 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in restaurants and retail stores has left some small businesses in Springfield scrambling to get into compliance.

The ban went into effect on Jan. 1.

Anna Bornstein, the manager at Chicken Bonz in Springfield, said she first thought it only applied to Eugene and not the entire state.

She said it wasn't until Dec. 30 that she came across a news article on social media and realized that the ban would impact them.
They ended up throwing out about $30 worth of single-use plastic bags and purchasing recyclable paper bags to get into compliance.

She said that they have also ordered reusable plastic bags that they expect to arrive at the end of the week, but she said she doesn't like the idea of having to charge customers an extra $0.05 per bag for them.

"I think there should have been way more communication and it think it would have made it easier for everyone," Bornstein said. "From what I understand it wasn't just us that had the confusion about the process."

A territory manager for U.S. Foods, a company that supplies restaurants, said Chicken Bonz isn't the only company confused by the changes. Nick Sahonchik said around 15 to 20% percent of his customers were caught off guard.

"There is a lot confusion," Sahonchik said. "We got copies of the law, and we're trying to inform them."

Under state law, businesses could face up to a $250 fine per day for not being in compliance.

Springfield police said they're not actively seeking out any businesses that are not following the law. They said they will speak to the business owners only if they first get a complaint. From there, police said they will work to educate the owner to make sure they know single-use plastic bags have to go.

Police said they have not yet received any complaints.

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