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Oregon lawmakers pass ban on single-use plastic bags

Single-use plastic bags will be banned at grocery stores and restaurants under the new bill.

Posted: Jun 11, 2019 12:23 PM
Updated: Jun 11, 2019 5:49 PM

SALEM, Ore. — State lawmakers have approved a bill that will ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, restaurants and retails stores, Senate Democrats announced on Tuesday.

House Bill 2509 has already passed the House, and it passed on the Senate floor Tuesday in a 17-12 vote.

The bill allows companies to provide either recycled paper bags or reusable plastic bags for a 5 cent fee, paid by the customer.

“Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and are light enough to be blown around easily,” Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) said. “As a result, they are strewn all over the place and are a common form of pollution in our world’s oceans. They don’t biodegrade and so the only way to rid ourselves of them is to stop using them. Much like in the case of polystyrene, something we use once shouldn’t be able to pollute our environment for hundreds of years.”

There are exemptions for plastic bags that are used by suppliers to package their products or "bulk items," and for plastic bags sold to consumers for home trash bags, Senate Democrats said. Customers who use electronic benefits transfer cards under the Women, Infants and Children Program can get paper or reusable plastic bags for free.

“Oregon’s local governments already have been stepping up to do their part,” Dembrow said. “But we need a consistent, statewide effort to have a truly meaningful impact in keeping plastic bags out of our natural environment and out of our oceans, where they are doing significant damage to aquatic life.”

Similar bans on handing out single-use plastic straws at restaurants and polystytrene take-out containers have also been making their way toward reality in recent months — the polystyrene ban, however, failed to garner the votes necessary in order to pass the Senate on Tuesday.

“Instead of banning the bag, we should have bagged the ban. The bill was so poorly written," Republican Senators Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) and Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) said in a joint statement. "They call these reusable bags ‘single-use’ but they are not. Simply, the bill is not rooted in reality, it is not going to help the environment and it doesn’t even achieve the so-called ‘intention’ of the bill. The supermajority’s legislation this session is proving to be nothing more than a litany of campaign bills and flawed policy. Oregonians deserve better.”

The bill now goes to Governor Kate Brown for her signature.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 75431

Reported Deaths: 912
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah17556239
Washington10554102
Marion9370142
Clackamas639577
Umatilla438449
Lane436843
Jackson387931
Deschutes242215
Malheur240844
Yamhill175616
Linn144023
Polk127516
Douglas96118
Klamath8734
Jefferson84311
Benton8007
Union7886
Morrow6597
Lincoln62515
Josephine5574
Wasco53219
Columbia5203
Coos4303
Hood River4021
Clatsop3610
Baker2833
Crook2336
Curry1372
Grant1341
Lake1331
Tillamook1330
Harney1001
Wallowa713
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1230264

Reported Deaths: 19173
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles4009197655
San Bernardino936711129
Riverside873831437
San Diego82043997
Orange785531577
Kern41827448
Fresno38568481
Sacramento37415576
Santa Clara35085476
Alameda29918512
San Joaquin25740502
Contra Costa24275261
Stanislaus22162426
Tulare20793308
Ventura19952175
Imperial16272356
Monterey15621122
San Francisco15571160
San Mateo14458170
Sonoma12319157
Merced11773179
Santa Barbara11520135
Kings1127087
Solano1064881
Marin7777129
Placer662270
Madera629085
San Luis Obispo614536
Shasta496347
Yolo489377
Santa Cruz449028
Butte400859
Sutter333216
Napa309017
El Dorado24474
Yuba203610
San Benito189316
Lassen17933
Tehama171025
Mendocino158023
Nevada13119
Tuolumne10358
Glenn9518
Lake92719
Humboldt8989
Colusa7236
Siskiyou6242
Amador59016
Mono5483
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3391
Inyo29016
Plumas2150
Trinity1590
Modoc1430
Mariposa1392
Alpine500
Sierra190
Unassigned00
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