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Oregon Passes Most Comprehensive Plastic Bag Ban in the CountrySalem-News.com
Oregon's most common litter includes cigarette butts, plastic bottles and caps, food wrappers, and plastic bags.
(SALEM, Ore.) - On June 11th, the Oregon Senate passed the most comprehensive plastic bag ban in the U.S.
Starting on January 1, 2020, single-use plastic bags will be eliminated from local retail stores and restaurants, preventing billions of non-biodegradable plastic bags from entering landfills, waterways and the environment.
As the first state in the nation to successfully include restaurants in the legislation, Oregon is leading the way in reducing plastic pollution for the future.
Under Oregon’s Sustainable Shopping Initiative, HB 2509, a 5-cent fee will be added to paper bags in addition to the ban on single-use plastic bags in retail stores and restaurants.
This legislation built off of the 17 existing local ordinances – covering nearly 40% of Oregonians – already in place in Oregon to address plastic pollution and recycling contamination due to plastic bags.
Retailers can offer 40% post-consumer content recycled paper bags and reusable bags with a minimum 5-cent pass-through charge that offsets the cost of providing those alternative bags. Participants in food assistance programs are exempt from the pass-through charge.
Customers who bring their own reusable bags will also not pay any charge.
Smaller plastic bags like produce, deli and meat bags can still be provided in-store for protecting consumer health. Newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, and bags sold in bulk for garbage lining and pet waste are exempt.
“With 17 separate city ordinances currently in place, we heard overwhelmingly that uniformity and predictability for businesses across this state was critical,” said the bill's chief sponsor Representative Janeen Sollman.
"We carried this policy forward to address the environmental and economic impacts as well. We brought together a variety of stakeholders, including Hillsboro Youth Advisory Council members, who developed a successful, collaborative policy in Hillsboro, one we can all be proud of.”
Single-use plastics are polluting our environment and harming wildlife in the ocean, in rivers, and on our surrounding lands. Plastic bags are one of the top items found on beach and highway cleanups in Oregon, and fewer than 8% of them get recycled.
“Oregon’s bill is the strongest statewide legislation in the nation for addressing all of the problems associated with plastic film bags,” said Charlie Plybon, Oregon Policy Manager with the Surfrider Foundation.
“Beyond eliminating plastic bags and reducing associated litter and pollution, the bill will further an Oregon ethos for shopping with reusable bags.”
Regulations in the bill will take effect on January 1, 2020. The bill will now go to the Governor’s office for Governor Kate Brown’s signature.
For more info about Surfrider’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution, visit oregon.surfrider.org.
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