We are thrilled to share the news that Oregon has recently updated their Oregon Department of Agriculture Retail Food Code rules - specifically allowing customers to use their own clean containers to take home food from grocery stores.
In early February 2023, a challenge that started back in mid 2022 met with success. The Realm Refillery created a petition on Change.org and was joined by thousands of Oregonians as well as a non-profit group named Surfrider Foundation. "In our never-ending battle to eliminate single use plastic pollution, Surfrider Foundation launched our “Clean up the Code” campaign in Oregon late last year following hearing from both businesses and customers that Oregon’s retail health code prevented customers from bringing their own reusable container for shopping in bulk, produce, etc."
With a bunch of advocacy work with ODA's Food Safety Advisory Committee, the agency has rewritten the rule to allow for bring-your-own food containers to be utlized in retail establishements. Surfrider Foundation staff has also been working with Senator Sollman's office (D15) to draft a bill for the 2023 legislature which would further reinforce the new rule and extend the use of customer containers to restaurants and take-out, coming soon.
Now, we can rejoice! And so can our Pantries.
We have long advocated for using your own clean containers to shop the bulk aisles of Oregon's natural food stores to lower our environmental impact. Zero waste is the goal. Being able to shop at grocery stores and bring home the things you need without throw away packaging is all about cutting the waste. This saves the world from excess plastic, paper, printing, adhesives and processing. You may want to search for stores around you that can help you fullfil your Zero Waste goal. Litterless is the place to start your search. Many of our customers from Bellingham to Oakland are on this list.
If you've never tried shopping with your own containers - now is a great time to start.
TOP PHOTO: Realm Refillery in Portland, has been instrumental in advocating for this update to the Oregon Retail Food Safety Code.