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Portland Expands Plastic Bag Ban

The City of Portland decided Thursday to expand its ban on plastic bags.

After a year of banning them at certain shops, commissioners voted unanimously to include restaurants and other retailers.

But the council stopped short of placing a fee on paper bags.  Recycling advocates say that move cut the use of disposable bags by 80 percent in Washington, D.C.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman voted for the ban, but fought a fee.

Saltzman explained, “Getting rid of plastics a good thing. I’m not persuaded that putting a fee on paper bags, which is something we do well here. We grow trees well, we make paper here, it’s jobs it’s recycled bags and doesn’t use bleach, so for those reasons I think it’s important to support something that keeps people employed in the northwest. So that’s my concern about that.”

Plastic bags will still be allowed to wrap meat and other items that might contaminate other purchases.

Plastic bags will also be allowed to carry messy take-out food and to cover clothes coming from a dry-cleaner.

About 5,000 shops and restaurants will be affected by the ban.  It takes full effect next October.

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