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Oregon Reaches Milestone in The Road to Reuse

Surfrider Foundation's Clean up the Code campaign just hit a major milestone this past week when The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) officially adopted new rules for enabling reusable containers in retail establishments! On February 2, the updated Retail Health Code and associated rules were published to the Secretary of State and become effective immediately.  Oregon’s retail health code previously prevented customers from bringing their own reusable container for shopping in bulk, produce, etc. For customers and businesses seeking to reduce their single-use packaging and promote reusable culture, the rule-making is a critical step in modernizing Oregon’s health code.

Photo of bulk section The Realm Refillery in Portland, package free grocery stores, coops and similar retails were heavily involved in the rulemaking

The updated rule is a testament to both the advocacy of businesses, individuals and groups like Surfrider, but also to the Oregon Department of Agriculture work on to draft the rule in response. The steady advocacy and response of the agency's Food Safety Advisory Committee resulted in a major win for Oregon's reuse culture - from reducing single use plastic pollution to business freedoms and food access/security interests, many should feel proud of this important step! For businesses like The Realm Refillery, that operates a package-free grocery store in Portland, the rule is fundamental to their business model. "This new rule not only helps businesses like ours, but also our communities and the planet. By reusing what we already have, we can make a huge impact on the waste crisis together," said Brittany Snipes, owner of The Realm Refillery.

Surfrider celebrates this important milestone, BUT, our work on the road to reuse is not over! We are still working to advocate for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to ensure the same provisions are updated for restaurants and other establishments under OHA code. That's why Surfrider is still pursuing SB 545, a bill that would also require the Oregon Health Authority to update their rules for reusable containers in restaurants.
Action Needed: Scheduled for hearing  Tuesday, 02/14/23 at 1:00pm –  submit written testimony!