Portland’s bag ban expansion bad for environment

by NW Spotlight

The Oregonian reported this week that the Portland City Council voted to greatly expand the city’s 1-year-old ban on plastic bags. The expanded bag ban now includes “an estimated 5,000 restaurants and retailers, including food carts, farmers markets and corner stores.” Last year’s bag ban affected only 200 businesses.

With a few exceptions, now Portland “customers will have to switch to paper, bring their own bags or go without to carry items out of stores.”

Following the vote on Portland’s bag ban expansion, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) released a statement that noted “The expansion of Portland’s bag ban will continue to have a negative impact on consumers, and, ironically, the environment. 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.”

As was noted in a March 2012 Oregon Catalyst article on a potential Corvallis bag ban, plastic bags are 100% recyclable and are made in the U.S., using domestic natural gas, and they support American jobs.