Plastic bag ban passes state Senate
Bagging up food at the checkout counter may be a thing of a past in Oregon as the State Senate on Tuesday, June 11, passed a House bill that will ban single-use plastic grocery bags.
Sponsored by Reps. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro), and Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis), House Bill 2509 would prohibit retail establishments and restaurants from providing plastic checkout bags to customers, an announcement from Gorsek's office said.
Under the bill, retailers are required to offer recycled paper bags or reusable plastic bags for a fee of at least 5 cents.
The bill now heads to Gov. Kate Brown's desk for her signature. Once signed, the bill will become law starting in 2020.
"Plastic bags are increasingly problematic at both the local and global level," Gorsek said. "There is increasing awareness with our constituents that this is a problem. I represent a number of municipalities that have reached out to my office and asked that we address this at the state level after considering local bans."
Wood Village was one city to support the state ban. Mayor Scott Harden wrote a letter to state representatives in March supporting HB 2509.
"A ban is the right choice for Wood Village, the state of Oregon and our environment," Harden said.
However, not all Wood Village officials were thrilled with the bill's passage. While City Councilor Patricia Smith supports a statewide ban, she felt the house bill provided too many exceptions.
Bags exempted from the ban include sacks used to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, greeting cards or small hardware items. Other exceptions include allowing plastic bags that contain frozen food, meat, fish, flowers, potted plants or other items because of dampness or sanitation; hold unwrapped prepared food or bakery goods; are filled with prescription medication, newspaper bags, door hanger bags, laundry bags, dry cleaning bags; bags sold in a package of multiple units and are intended to store food and an exception allows for bags to be sold that will be used as trash bags or collect pet waste.
"With all the exemptions, why have a ban at all?" Smith said.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.