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Cat's Out: Portland To Consider Expanding Grocery Bag Rules

Portland City Commissioners may soon debate expanding the city’s policies on grocery bags.

Plastic bags

Plastic bags

Lucila Cejas/OPB

Last year, Portland banned single-use plastic bags. Supporters say it was such a success, they want the city to consider new incentives to get people to stop using paper, and switch to reusable bags for food.

Commissioners Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman both reacted negatively when hearing the idea from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, as part of a one-year review on the ban. Here’s Leonard’s question to BPS head Susan Anderson.

“This feels like you’re shifting the focus to include paper bags as part of a problem. And I never understood paper bags to be a problem. I’m concerned about calling out a mandatory five-cent cost for paper bags.”

Anderson and others pointed out that paper bags, while not as hard to recycle as plastic, do consume paper and energy during the production process.

Mayor Sam Adams said there would be more time in November to debate an expansion, after BPS has drafted a plan and presents it to Council.

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