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: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4852216

Reported Deaths: 71350
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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