Mayor proposes expanding Portland's plastic bag ban - KPTV - FOX 12

Mayor proposes expanding Portland's plastic bag ban

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Plastic bags are already banned at more than 160 stores throughout Portland and that number could increase dramatically in the near future.

Mayor Sam Adams is proposing to expand the single-use plastic bag ban to include all retail and food businesses in the city.

"We're an ocean state, we're a river city, we need to do everything we can to help lead the way to get plastics out of the marine food chain," he said.

Right now, the ordinance affects 167 stores inside the city limits. They are mostly grocery stores and pharmacies. The policy began on Oct. 15, 2011.

A one-year progress report by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability showed that the city received fewer than five complaints from consumers regarding retailers that weren't complying with the ordinance.

The report also stated reusable checkout bag use increased 304 percent. Use of highly recycled paper checkout bags increased 491 percent.

Adams said some big retailers like Lowe's are not currently subject to the ordinance, but they have still voluntarily stopped using plastic bags in the company's Portland stores.

The mayor's office said Friday the expansion proposal will be discussed at the city council meeting on Nov. 15.

The new proposal, if passed, would prohibit any retail business or food provider with a store size greater than 10,000 square feet from using plastic bags on March 1, 2013. All others would be required to only provide recycled paper bags or reusable bags on Oct. 1, 2013.

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