Portland Oregon - A Better Bag Ban

Single-use plastic bags represent one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of our generation. Oregonians use an estimated 1.7 billion single-use plastic bags every year.  The state spends millions annually to clean up and landfill these littered bags, and millions of dollars are also spent by local governments to clean littered streets and waterways. It is estimated that 60-80% of all debris in the ocean is land-based plastic and these items take hundreds of years to break down at sea and most types never truly biodegrade. As a result, marine animals often get entangled in the debris or mistake it for food endangering critical ocean species within our own food chain upon which we depend.

The City of Portland made huge strides in cutting down on the plastic bag waste-stream, about 8.5 million fewer plastic bags per month, according to a report from just 23 of the 55 major grocers that participated in the Northwest Grocery Association’s 6 month study following the initial plastic bag ban ordinance. In just six months, in just those subset of stores, we are talking about 52 million bags! This simply demonstrates the scale of the issue, imagine if all retailers in Portland banned plastic bags!
A better bag ban would not only further expand the current policy to all retailers, but would also extend a pass through cost or fee on paper bags to help effectively shift consumer behavior to reusable bags. The current policy unfortunately has shifted many consumers to paper bags and studies show that a small fee can effectively shift consumer behaviors to reusable bags.

For these and other reasons, the Portland Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is urging local Portland members and citizens to help expand the Portland plastic bag ordinance to better promote the use of reusable bags through banning plastic checkout bags at all retailers and requiring retailers to charge for paper checkout bags.

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, HEREBY SUPPORT a ban on single-use plastic bags and a 10 cent fee on paper bags at all retailers within the City of Portland to prevent plastic trash from entering the ocean, encourage the use of reusable bags, and reduce our dependence on finite natural resources.
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165 total signers.