Environment | Health

Legislature Debates Plastic Bag Ban

OPB | Feb. 2, 2010 7:55 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:08 a.m. | Salem, OR

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By Chris Lehman

Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal that would put an end to the age-old question:  “Paper or plastic?”

A Senate committee Tuesday heard arguments from both sides of the debate over a bill that would ban Oregon stores from using plastic bags. Chris Lehman reports.


Environmental groups say plastic bags litter the landscape.  The recycling industry says the bags clog up recycling equipment.

Retailers say they support the idea of discouraging single-use plastic bags at grocery stores. But they say banning those bags outright would drive up costs since paper bags are more expensive.

Retailers say current efforts to encourage re-usable bags are working.

The bill's co-sponsor, Democratic Senator Mark Hass, said he's open to compromise.

Mark Hass:  “There may be better ways to skin this cat. I don't know. But this is where we're starting.”

But Katy Daily from the group Recycling Advocates says anything short of a ban won't work.

Katy Daily:  “It general it does take a bit of a strong arm in order for us to see results. Voluntary measures do not generally see the results that other things like bans do.”

Seattle tried to levy a plastic bag tax but voters there rejected the idea last year.


Online:

Senate Bill 1009 (.pdf)

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