NEWPORT — Retailers over 10,000 square feet phased out their use of plastic bags by Monday, July 1, in accordance with a city ordinance requiring retail stores like Walmart, Fred Meyer, Safeway and JC Market Thriftway to stop using single-use plastic bags.
The Newport City Council recently discussed the issue again after the state legislature passed HB 2509, the state plastic bag ban, and talked about whether or not to amend or repeal the city ordinance now the state law is set to go into effect. HB 2509 requires retailers throughout the state to phase out single-use plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2020 — the date Newport requires retailers smaller than 10,000 square feet to stop using plastic bags themselves.
“We’ve only been doing this for one day,” said JC Market Thriftway Manager Lyle Mattson. “We’ve only gotten 24 hours into this, so all I can say is that local consumers are aware of the situation. The only issue we’ve run into is people from out of town not being aware.”
One day into the rollout of the city ordinance, Mattson hasn’t seen very much resistance from his customers, although the store manager said most of his cashiers passed along feedback from grocery shoppers on both sides of the issue.
“When questioned this morning, they said they had a limited amount of negative response from people who came in yesterday,” Mattson said. “Customers like to tell us how they feel about it.”
In the weeks and months leading up to the rollout of the ordinance here in Newport, Mattson provided training to his employees on how to handle the introduction of the new city regulations. In the first 24 hours of the ordinance being in effect, Mattson and his cashiers haven’t seen too much backlash from customers over the new rules.
“One or two were vocal about it, but they’ve been pretty much accepting,” said Amy DeWilde, a cashier at JC Market Thriftway. “Lyle coached us on how to be courteous. Some people are aware of the policy and some aren’t.”
Since HB 2509 was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, some retailers like Mattson have prepared for the new regulations coming down the pike on the first of the year next year. Those at JC Thriftway in Newport are still working out both how to comply with the new statewide regulations and the city ordinance currently in effect.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this,” Mattson said. “We’ve still got some things to work out.”