Our Ordinance

Section 1. Findings.
WHEREAS the city of Corvallis has a duty to protect the natural environment, the economy, and the health of its citizens;
WHEREAS The Corvallis City Council’s Community Sustainability Policy includes the goals of using resources efficiently reducing demand for natural resources (such as energy, land, and water) as a first alternative to expanding supply and preventing additional pollution through planned, proactive measures, rather than only corrective action, focusing on solutions rather than symptoms;
WHEREAS The Corvallis City Council has previously expressed support for the Community Sustainability Action Plan, which includes encouraging reusable food bags and restricting plastic bags;
WHEREAS The expansive use of plastic shopping bags and their typical disposal creates an impediment to the city’s goals;
WHEREAS Single-use plastic shopping bags are difficult to recycle and frequently contaminate material that is collected through Corvallis’ recycling and composting programs. The City recognizes that reusable bags are the best alternative to Single-use plastic shopping bags. Recycled content paper checkout bags are also an alternative, as they are a high value recyclable collected in the City’s curbside recycling program and are made in paper mills located in the region. While papermaking has environmental impacts, paper bags that are made with 40 percent or more recycled fiber provide a positive alternative to plastic bags;
WHEREAS Plastic shopping bags create significant litter problems in neighborhoods, on Oregon’s beaches, and in sewer systems;
WHEREAS Plastic shopping bags have significant environmental impacts each year; whereas reusable bags are the best option to reduce waste and litter, protect wildlife, and conserve resources;
WHEREAS Governments in several countries and cities in the U.S. have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags, including Portland, Oregon;
WHEREAS The City has determined that a minimum cost pass-through of $0.05 per Recycled Paper Bag would cover the reasonable cost to a store of providing the paper
bags to its Customers, in addition to the savings of not purchasing single-use plastic bags; and
a) other jurisdictions have imposed paper bag fees and these fees have proven very effective at generating a major shift in consumer behavior toward the use of reusable bags and significantly reducing single-use bag consumption; and
b) Fred Meyer’s experience in their 10 Portland stores shows that when plastic bags are removed, consumers overwhelmingly switch to paper—which becomes a hardship for small retailers and moves the problem from one single-use bag to another;
WHEREAS The Corvallis City Council passed Resolution 2011-06, which relates to and supports an Ordinance:
Section 1 of Resolution 2011-16:
“The City Council supports passage of a bill by the 2011 Legislature as follows:
a) Prohibiting the use of single-use plastic and non-recycled paper checkout bags at all retail stores;
b) Allowing retail stores to use paper check-out bags containing at least 40% recycled fiber, and;
c) Allowing retail stores to provide reusable bags to the Customer either at no cost or for sale.”
Section 2 of Resolution 2011-16:
“ In the event that the 2011 Legislature does not adopt legislation with provisions substantially similar to those listed in Section 1 of this resolution the City Council may consider enacting a local ordinance regulating single-use plastic and non-recycled paper checkout bags, including prohibiting such bags, mandating recycling of such bags or other restriction methods.”
Section 2. Short Title.
This Ordinance shall be entitled “Encourage Reusable Bags and Ban Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags.”
Section 3. Definitions.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) "ASTM Standard" means the current American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)'s International current D-6400.
(b) "Carryout Bag" means any bag that is provided by a Retail Establishment at the point of sale to a Customer for use to transport or carry away purchases, such as merchandise, goods or food, from the Retail Establishment. “Carryout Bag” does not include:
(1) Bags used by consumers inside stores to:
(A) package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy or small hardware items;
(B) contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, fish, whether packaged or not;
(C) contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem;
(D) contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; or
(E) Pharmacy prescription bags;
(2) Newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.
(3) Product Bags.
(c) "City Sponsored Event" means any event organized or sponsored by the City of Corvallis or any Department of the City of Corvallis.
(d) "Customer" means any person obtaining goods from a Retail Establishment or a Vendor.
(e) "Food Provider" means any person in the City of Corvallis that provides prepared food for public consumption on or off its premises and includes, without limitation, any store, shop, sales outlet, restaurant, Grocery Store, delicatessen, or catering truck or vehicle.
(f) "Grocery Store" means any Retail Establishment that sells groceries, fresh, packaged, canned, dry, prepared or frozen food or beverage products and similar items and includes supermarkets, convenience stores, and gasoline stations.
(g) "Pharmacy" means a retail use where the profession of pharmacy by a pharmacist licensed by the State of Oregon in accordance with the Business and Professions Code is practiced and where prescription medications are offered for sale.
(h) "Product Bag" means any bag provided to a Customer for use within a Retail Establishment to assist in the collection or transport of products to the point of sale within the Retail Establishment. A Product Bag is not a Carryout Bag.
(i) "Recyclable Paper Bag" means a paper bag that meets all of the following requirements: (1) contains no old growth fiber; (2) is 100% recyclable and contains a minimum of 40% postconsumer recycled content; (3) displays the words "Reusable" and "Recyclable" in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag; and (4) is capable of composting consistent with the timeline and specifications of the ASTM Standard as defined in this section.
(j) "Retail Establishment" means any store or Vendor located within or doing business within the geographical limits of the City of Corvallis that sells or offers for sale goods at retail.
(k) "Reusable Bag" means a bag made of cloth or other fabric with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for long term multiple reuse and meets all of the following requirements:
(1) has a minimum lifetime of 125 uses, which for purposes of this subsection, means the capability of carrying a minimum of 22 pounds 125 times over a distance of at least 175 feet;
(2) is machine washable; and
(3) if plastic, has a minimum plastic thickness of 2.25 mils.
(l) "Vendor" means any store, shop, restaurant, sales outlet or other commercial establishment located within or doing business within the geographical limits of the City of Corvallis, which provides perishable or nonperishable goods for sale to the public. A Vendor is a Retail Establishment.
(m) "Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bag" means any plastic Carryout Bag made available by a Retail Establishment to a Customer at the point of sale. It does not include Reusable Bags, Recycled Paper Bags, or Product Bags.
Section 4. Regulations.
Except as exempted in Section 6,
(a) No Retail Establishment shall provide or make available to a Customer a Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bag;
(b) All Retail Establishments shall make available to a Customer at the point of sale a Reusable Bag or a Recycled Paper Bag; and
(c) No person shall distribute a Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bag at any City Facility, City managed concession, City sponsored event, or City permitted event.
Section 5. Cost Pass-Through.
When a Retail Establishment makes a Recycled Paper Bag available to a Customer at the point of sale pursuant to Section 4(b), the Retail Establishment shall:
(a) Charge the Customer a reasonable pass-through cost of not less than 5 cents per Recycled Paper Bag provided to the Customer; and
(b) Indicate on the Customer’s transaction receipts the total amount of the Paper Bag Pass-Through charge.
Section 6. Exemptions.
Notwithstanding the regulations contained in Sections 4 & 5:
(a) Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags may be distributed to Customers by Food Providers for the purpose of safeguarding public health and safety during the transportation of hot prepared take-out foods and prepared liquids intended for consumption away from the Food Provider's premises.
(b) Retail Establishments may distribute Product Bags and may make Reusable Bags available to Customers whether through sale or otherwise.
(c) Notwithstanding the requirements contained in Section 4: A store shall provide a Customer participating in any one of the following programs with a Reusable Bag or a Recycled Paper Gag at no cost at the point of sale:
(1) Customers who use a voucher issued under the Women, Infants and Children Program established in the Oregon Health Authority under ORS 409.600;
(2) Customers who use an electronic benefits card issued by the Department of Human Services.
(d) The Mayor, at his or her sole discretion, may exempt a Retail Establishment from the requirements of this Chapter for up to one year upon a showing by the Retail Establishment that the requirements of this Chapter would cause the Retail Establishment an undue hardship. As used in this subparagraph, an "undue hardship" shall only mean:
1. Circumstances unique to the Retail Establishment such that there are no reasonable alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags;
2. Circumstances unique to the Retail Establishment such that the Cost Pass-Through cost cannot reasonably be collected; or
3. Any other circumstances unique to the Retail Establishment which justify the exemption described in subparagraph (d).
(e) If a Retail Establishment requires an exemption beyond the initial exemption period, the Retail Establishment must re-apply prior to the end of the exemption period and must
demonstrate continued undue hardship if it wishes to have the exemption extended. Extensions may only be granted for intervals not to exceed one year.
(f) An exemption request shall include all information necessary for the Mayor to make his or her decision, including but not limited to documentation showing the factual support for the claimed exemption. The Mayor may require the applicant to provide additional information to permit the Mayor to determine whether the facts support another exemption request.
(g) The Mayor may approve the exemption request, in whole or in part, with or without conditions.
(h) Exemption decisions are effective immediately, are final and are not appealable.
(i) The City Council may by resolution establish a fee for exemption requests. The fee shall be sufficient to cover the costs or processing the exemption request.
(j) Notwithstanding the requirements contained in Sections 4 and 5: Vendors at farmers’ markets may distribute Recycled Paper Bags and other non-prohibited carryout devices without charge but are not required to provide or offer carryout devices.
Section 7 Remedies.
(a) The Mayor is authorized to establish regulations and to take any and all actions reasonable and necessary to obtain compliance with this Chapter, including, but not limited to, inspecting any retail establishment's premises to verify compliance.
(b) Any person violating this Chapter shall be punishable by a fine equal to the cost of enforcement. For the purposes of this section, “cost of enforcement” shall mean the number of hours expended by City personnel in investigating and prosecuting the violation, rounded up to the nearest tenth of an hour, multiplied by $75 per hour.
(c) The City Attorney may also seek legal, injunctive, or other equitable relief to enforce this Chapter.
(d) Administrative enforcement of this ordinance shall proceed pursuant to Corvallis Municipal Code with the fines to be graduated for repeat violations in amounts set forth by City Council resolution.
(e) Each violation of this Chapter shall be considered a separate offense.
(f) The remedies and penalties provided in this section are cumulative and not exclusive, and nothing in this Chapter shall preclude any person from pursuing any other remedies provided by law.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Ordinance, commencing on the date the Ordinance becomes effective, this Ordinance may be enforced through any remedy as provided for in this Section. This Ordinance shall be enforced one year from the date of its enactment.
(h) All fines collected pursuant to this Section shall be deposited into the City’s general fund; provided, however that the City may designate up to one-half of the fines collected to be spent by the City on community outreach and educational programs which focus on sustainable practices and/or policies.
Section 8. The City shall establish a website containing information on this Ordinance. The website must include the following information:
(a) Who is affected by the Ordinance;
(b) What the Ordinance requires;
(c) How the Ordinance is implemented and enforced;
(d) When the Ordinance becomes effective and enforceable;
(e) Why the Ordinance is being implemented by the City.
Section 9. Any provision of the Corvallis Municipal Code or appendices that is inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance is hereby repealed or modified, but only to the extent necessary to effect the provisions of this Ordinance.
Section 10. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The City Council hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.
Section 11. Any provision of this Ordinance that is inconsistent with any applicable requirements of the Oregon Revised Statutes or the Oregon Administrative Rules is hereby repealed or modified, but only to the extent necessary to make this Ordinance consistent with that other state law or regulation. If any provision of this Ordinance is more strict than any applicable requirement of the Oregon Revised Statutes or the Oregon Administrative Rules, then the provisions of this Ordinance shall apply.
Section 12. The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this Ordinance. The City Clerk shall cause the same to be published once in the official newspaper within 15 days of adoption.
Section 13. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance shall become effective immediately after enactment.