he Bend City Council voted December 5 to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags
, a plan that will officially go into effect on July 1. Bend's plan will enforce a not-less-than-10-cent fee per bag for customers who don't bring in a reusable bag.
“It’s time for us to be more sensible,” Councilor Barb Campbell said during the Council meeting last December. “The planet doesn’t belong to us.”
However, it appears the whole state of Oregon might also be following in that same direction with House Bill 2509.
HB 2509, titled the "Sustainable Shopping Initiative," moved out of the House Energy and Environment Committee last week. HB 2509 is centered around plastic pollution and other singe-use plastic items. If ultimately passed, the bill would ban those single-use plastic grocery bags and would add a 5-cent fee on paper bags. Including Bend, there are 12 other cities in Oregon with a similar practice in place - including Portland, Eugene, Ashland and Corvallis to name a few.
To help usher in the change
for Bend, the City Council will roll out an educational campaign for stores to prepare and no formal enforcements will be made until January of 2020. The ban applies to all retail stores and outlets and there will be no charge for bags to customers with WIC vouchers or SNAP benefits.
"Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing issues facing Oregon's rivers, oceans and wildlife. Single-use plastics inevitably end up in our waterways and on our beaches, and this pollution is damaging our ecosystems and endangering public health," said Environment Oregon
state director Celeste Meiffren-Swango in a news release.
Meiffren-Swango continued, "We call on the state House and Senate to move these bills forward to Governor Brown's desk and make Oregon a national leader on plastic pollution," she said. "Oregon's precious natural areas have been threatened for too long by single-use plastics, and the legislature should seize this opportunity to safeguard our environment and put wildlife over waste."
If passed, Oregon would become the second state to have such a law, coming after California who has had the ban since 2014.