Oregon Considers a Ban on Plastic Bags Again

by | Jul 19, 2010

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has proposed a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores and retail pharmacies in the city, hoping that the law will pass this time around, reports Examiner.com.

Adams’ proposal follows an announcement by Oregon’s state lawmakers who have proposed similar legislation, banning disposable plastic bags at all retailers throughout the state starting in 2012, reports OregonLive. The proposal calls for a five cent charge for every paper bag.

The legislation, introduced during February’s special session and led by state Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, and Sen. Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point, may not clear the 2011 Oregon session, according to the article.

Adams’ proposal calls for a ban on the use of one-time plastic bags in large grocery stores and retail pharmacies, and a similar five-cent tax per paper bag at checkout to help defray the store’s cost. These stores also will be required to sell reusable bags or provide them at no cost to consumers at checkout.

The mayor’s office says two-thirds of Portlanders surveyed in a recent poll support banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags and a 5-cent charge on paper bags, reports ThePortlander.

The proposal also includes a plan for an outreach campaign to provide reusable carryout bags to interested Portland residents, and to work with service providers to distribute information and reusable carryout bags to interested senior and low-income households.

Adams expects the new plastic bag ban bill will cut down on the recycling of one-time use plastic bags, and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags, which can be purchased at almost all stores statewide for a small fee, reports the Examiner.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents 80 percent of the country’s plastic bag production, say plastic bags can be kept out of the waste stream if consumers return them to stores for recycling, reports ThePortlander.

A good sign for Oregon’s legislators is that California’s state Assembly approved Assembly Bill 1998 in June that would make California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic and paper bags from being handed out at grocery stores, starting in 2012. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

California, Rhode Island, New York and Delaware and cities like Chicago and Tucson have recently passed laws requiring stores to take back plastic bags and film for recycling.

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