Portland moves forward on bag ban
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
In response to the Portland, Oregon city council voting unanimously last week to expand the city's plastic bag ban, the American Progressive Bag Alliance has released a statement sharply criticizing the move as harmful to consumers, the environment and jobs.
"The expansion of Portland's bag ban will continue to have a negative impact on consumers, and, ironically, the environment," said APBA president Mark Daniels in a prepared statement. "Portland residents will be forced to purchase even more reusable bags which cannot be recycled, are predominately imported from China and have been proven to harbor dangerous bacteria. Those interested in real solutions to reducing litter and protecting the environment should pursue scientifically sound, common sense policies — ones that encourage a comprehensive statewide recycling solution that address all forms of plastic bags, sacks and wraps — instead of targeting one product that makes up a fraction of a percent of the waste stream."
The council's decision was supported by the Northwest Grocery Association, which actually lobbied the city council to support a five-cent fee on paper bags as well, although that move proved unsuccessful. There has also been very little public opposition or consumer backlash to the bag ban among Portland residents.
The Northwest Grocery Association says Portland's ban directly led to 50 million fewer plastic bags consumed in Portland during the first six months of the ban, as well as a corresponding 300 percent increase in the use of reusable bags.
The expanded bag ban will apply to all retail and food providers with buildings greater than 10,000 square feet beginning March 1, 2013, and all other stores in Portland beginning Oct. 1, 2013. Approximately 5,000 establishments will be affected by the ban.