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.

Confirmed Cases: 4302

Reported Deaths: 154
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah117159
Marion97326
Washington74317
Clackamas31711
Deschutes1270
Umatilla1203
Linn1179
Polk10012
Lane773
Yamhill707
Jackson670
Benton555
Clatsop450
Jefferson440
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine241
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln150
Morrow120
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 114733

Reported Deaths: 4217
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles560112386
Riverside7982331
San Diego7481269
Orange6474147
San Bernardino5355204
Alameda347096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco257043
Kern232238
San Mateo216584
Tulare189789
Imperial175129
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Contra Costa146838
Sacramento142958
Ventura115234
Kings11225
San Joaquin90834
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5644
Monterey54510
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2711
Santa Cruz2172
Placer2179
Yolo21124
Napa1133
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado960
San Benito872
Butte510
Del Norte460
Sutter462
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Yuba301
Mendocino300
Lake210
Inyo201
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Amador100
Siskiyou70
Colusa70
Lassen50
Plumas40
Tuolumne40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
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