What’s the Story?
Oregon is considering adopting a statewide rule which would ban full-service, dine-in restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws to customers unless they are requested by the customer. It’s commonly referred to as a “straws-upon-request” rule. Oregon is expected to pass the new law during the January 2019 legislative session.
Many cities are interested in adopting their own rules about plastic straw use. Portland already approved a new ordinance in late 2018 (enforcement starts July 1, 2019) to implement a straws-upon-request rule, and Eugene’s city council is discussing a similar ordinance as well. However, an amendment to Oregon’s potential statewide ban may prohibit cities from regulating plastic straw use, which would override any existing ordinances like Portland’s.
How Would the Ban Affect Me?
If your restaurant supplies straws that are made of a sustainable alternative—like wheat (HAY! Straws), stainless steel, paper, or bamboo—then you’re good to go: you don’t need to change anything. However, if you currently supply single-use plastic straws, you’ll be required to comply with the new law.
If the Oregon law passes, restaurants caught giving out single-use plastic straws without being asked could face fines of up to $300. The first and second violations will result in a written warning, and any violations after will draw $25 fines for each day the restaurant does not comply, not exceeding $300 per year.
If your restaurant is in Portland, you’re already required to comply with Portland’s own ordinance, effective July 1, 2019. However, Oregon’s statewide ban may potentially override city regulations.
How Can I Stay Compliant?
Under the new law, you would be able to continue to keep single-use plastic straws in stock, but only deliver them if a customer asked for one first. However, you may be able to continue serving straws automatically to each customer if you switch to a reusable or compostable alternative. Wheat straws are among the most natural and affordable alternatives that offer an experience similar to single-use plastic.
If you choose to continue stocking single-use plastic straws, then complying with the “upon request” rule is about getting used to a new procedure. You would need to prepare your employees to break the habit of handing out plastic straws to every customer—they would need to ask for it first.
In Portland, however, restaurants are allowed to ask takeout or delivery customers if they want a straw before giving them one. For dine-in restaurants, customers must be the ones to ask for the straw.
Why Are HAY! Straws a Great Choice?
Help Us Keep This List up to Date!
Are we missing something on this page? Let us know if you’ve heard of a new city or town in Oregon that’s adopted a plastic straw ban, and we’ll add it to the list.
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