By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Council considers dropping nickel charge on paper bags

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I would like to know how much the retailer pays for the paper bags. I support paying for the bags, but not if the store is making money off of it. If it only cost them one cent, that is what the customer should pay.


Seems like there is way to much thinking involved with this.
Ban Plastic....If the retailer really can't afford to absorb the cost of paper bags (which is hard to believe) then they can charge for them or raise the price of their product. It's just a cost of doing business like any other. I missing something?

Jeb Bladine

Real interesting to see this issue play out so differently across the country. One state bans plastic and mandates 10 cent charge for paper bag, saying people using personal shopping bags shouldn't have to subsidize other shoppers who want paper bags; another state bans plastic and prohibits any charge for paper bags; another state mandates 10 cent charge for all paper and plastic bags and has surveys showing dramatic reduction in people asking for either one; another state does nothing at all.

I'd be interested in know what big market chains pay for paper bags. Meanwhile, I find grocery-type paper bags costing 20 to 50 cents apiece in cartons of 300 bags.

Mac Native 66

We never had to pay extra for the paper bags before the "foreign oil" plastic bags, why should anyone be doing it now?


Remember when gas stations checked your oil and had free air for the tires? and other states even pumped your gas -for free. it's called service. And it was to attract customers. When the government controls business, all service seeks the lowest level since there is no competition.

Sal Peralta

Jeb - the point of the fee is not to recoup a market rate but to disincentivize the use of single use bags and encourage people to bring their own bags.

Reb - your argument makes no sense. The only reason we have gas attendants at all in Oregon is government intervention in the form of a state law banning people from pumping their own gas outside of a few counties in eastern Oregon. There is no government law preventing those gas stations from giving people idealized 1950’s era service. In every state where market forces win out, gas station attendants have disappeared in favor of self service as customers would rather pump their own gas than pay the additional labor cost.

Sal Peralta

Also, most of the big grocers in town credit you for bringing your own bag so instead of -$0.05 you are + $0.06 to the good if you bring your own bag.


I don't mean to be flippant, but does a 5 cent charge really a disincentive for single use bags?....I think the entire premise is flawed and the charge is merely an irritant for a vocal few.....


Maybe the bag ban will turn out like the sign ordinance.


Why don’t we let the citizens of McMinnville make the decision. Put it on the ballot and let’s us make the choice by voting. Why are we letting a few people making decisions for all of us.

Ramsey McPhillips


When you say "state" I assume you mean city as there are only two states that have statewide bans... California and Hawaii which both have a bag charge.... 10 cents and 15 cents. Most cities are enacting some sort of fee as it promotes the use of reusable bags and makes sure the stores don't feel the need to bury the added cost of buying paper bags in an uptick in other store items.

Bottom line is.... bring a reusable bag and you avoid the fee and make your shopping truly 'zero waste' by not using a replacement paper bag - which after all is just another form of wasted resources. We're really proud McMinnville has gone the way of incentivizing the use of the re-usable grocery bag.

DEQ has formally endorsed a state wide bag ban with a fee attached and the Northwest Grocery Association has sent in a letter to the council which very much endorses the fee as a way to insure fairness to the grocery and an increase in the use of re-usable bags.

Don't forget the paper bags can be re-used, too!

Ramsey McPhillips

Jeb Bladine

Ramsey ... As you noted, I should have said those examples were a combination of state and local bans. Those two states you cite, plus Washington, D.C., have bans, and others states are considering them. There also are "state" bans around the world, as in recent report saying 18 states in India now ban plastic bags. And at the same time, multiple states have enacted bans against local bans!

Sal: Understood about strategy of charging for paper bags to encourage people to use personal shopping bags; I just raised that cost issue in wondering how much chains actually pay for paper bags (haven't found that yet), and wondering why people think they have a right to get paper bags for free.

But they do think so. And making a charge for paper bags optional simply means all shops will eliminate the charge -- they won't take the risk of losing business by charging while other stores don't. Thus, people with personal bags essentially will subsidize the cost of people who use free paper bags.

Ramsey McPhillips

Jeb, right you are... Portland did not charge a fee (the only city of six in Oregon so far that didn’t) and the use of paper bags went up 490%!!!! Someone, somewhere is paying for those and I bet it’s not the grocery!

The fee is to stave off universal cost increases and promote re-useable bag use... bring a bag, avoid the cost.

The cost of one bag to grocery is Btwn 6 and 9 cents. We will bring those numbers up at council meeting. I need to confirm those numbers with a local grocery that is actually buying them in real time!

If folks simply used their purchased 5 cent paper bags 4 more times the cost of the bags would go down to 1 cent...


And how often can you boast about saving one cent? I'm taking it straight to the bank.


Here go with the Nanny State again. The 5 cent charge is to incentivize our residents to use cloth bags or is it to force us to use cloth bags. Give an environmentalist an inch and they will take a mile. They have ruined logging,fishing and are working on Agriculture in this state. What will they try to sue over or stop next?

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