Mayor Sam Adams from Portland, Oregon has kept his promise to ban the plastic bag in the City of Portland. This debate has been my focus for years and to see it come to a positive conclusion makes me proud to live in Portland, Oregon. Plastic bags are found in rivers, lakes, trees, blowing through parking lots and clogging recycling facilities. Less then 5% are recycled each year, they are made from oil and the time has come for Portland, Oregon to lead by encouraging people to use reusable bags. This ban will far from be perfect but it’s a great start and I will be celebrating it’s passage into law.
Please click the link below to watch Mayor Sam Adam’s video on the plastic bag.
Mayor Sam Adams
Oregonians use the equivalent of 444 single-use plastic checkout bags each, every year. That’s a bad habit worth kicking.
By Sam Adams
Fri, July 15, 2011 8:44am
Oregonians use an estimated 1.7 billion single-use plastic checkout bags each year—the equivalent of 444 bags for every man, woman, and child in Oregon, every year. That’s a bad habit worth kicking.
Growing up on the Oregon coast, I saw firsthand the devastating effects that discarded plastic has on our waterways and wildlife. In Portland, and in all of Oregon, single-use plastic checkout bags are an eyesore, getting into our waterways and our storm drains. Plastic bags are a nuisance, jamming up recycling facility machines and costing those facilities tens of thousands of dollars a month in maintenance and labor to fix the mess.
And globally, plastic bags are part of an environmental crisis—from the oil needed to manufacture and transport bags around the planet, to the massive plastic islands of trash destroying our oceans and intoxicating our marine food web.
That’s why I’m introducing an ordinance at City Council on July 21 at 3:45 pm that would prohibit the largest generators of single-use plastic checkout bags—large grocery stores and large retailers that have pharmacies—from distributing these bags to their customers at point of sale. See today’s Oregonian story for more details.
This policy is a pragmatic approach to a real and seemingly insurmountable problem, and was shaped by a coalition of businesses, environmental groups and city staff, and informed by lessons from cities and nations that have already taken action on single-use plastic checkout bags—from San Francisco to China. Portlanders are prepared to lead the way in Oregon.
If approved, the ban would take effect on October 15, 2011. The policy also promotes the use of reusable checkout bags, and provides reusable bags free-of-charge to qualifying low-income residents and seniors. This initiative does not mandate retailers to charge a bag fee, and does not prevent retailers from offering a reusable checkout bag discount. Full details of the proposal, including answers to frequently asked questions and a copy of the ordinance, can be found at mayorsamadams.com/bagban.
Portland and Oregon have always led the nation on smart environmental policy. Portland’s economic prosperity is being built on our creativity, our innovation, our expertise in sustainability, and our heritage of great manufacturing. By taking action now, we’re continuing our city’s leadership in sustainable urban living and making an investment in our city’s future.