PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Portland City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday morning that will drastically reduce single-use plastics across the city.
City commissioners voted unanimously to restrict plastic serviceware like straws, stirrers, utensils, and condiment packaging.
Under the new ordinance, customers only get plastic straws if they specifically ask for them.
Businesses will have to ask customers if they need plastic utensils or packages of condiments before automatically handing them to them.
A recent survey by the Oregon environmental group, SOLVE, showed that 15 percent of the litter they pick up is single-use plastics largely from takeout orders.
Plastic straws account for roughly one-sixth of all litter in the United States.
Mayor Ted Wheeler says the ordinance is in response to global plastic littering.
"Besides overwhelming our landfills, plastic straws and other single-use disposables affect the health of humans and animal communities. Over 660 species, including sea turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds, are impacted and in many cases die from ingesting or becoming entangled in the plastic debris," says Mayor Wheeler. "A lot of people feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the plastic problem. This is a small but important step in the right direction."
Other cities in North America and the European Union are also passing similar ordinances.
Portland's new single-use plastics restrictions go into effect July 1, 2019.
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