Bill would ban plastic bags statewide, charge fee for paper bags

MEDFORD, Ore. — Plastic bag bans already in effect in some Oregon cities including Ashland could soon go statewide.

House bill 2509 would ban single-use plastic bags and charge people 10 cents for paper, in an effort to reduce statewide pollution.

“All those plastic bags can’t be good for the environment,” said Medford shopper Bryan Cohee. “There’s some times I don’t remember my bags and so I’ve gotta use plastic or paper and so that’d be kind of a bummer to have to pay but I understand.”

Cohee said he’d have to get used to the new law, but he thinks it’d be a good idea.

“The pros are less plastic bags and paper bags flying around the landfill and along the roadside like you see quite a bit,” Cohee said.

A statewide law could replace local ordinance that also ban plastic bags like Ashland’s.

“I don’t think they should ban them completely,” said shopper Alex Ganoe.

Ganoe uses reusable bags, but said there are still many uses for plastic bags after they leave the grocery store, like at the White City Library where she volunteers.

“We use the plastic bags for people to fill with their choice of books,” Ganoe said, “so I’m not sure what we would do if we no longer had the plastic bags that people donate to us.”

But both said that it’s something that could benefit the environment.

“You wouldn’t have as much waste along the highways and in the landfills and such,” Ganoe said.

“They’re trying to provide some incentive for people to bring their own bags and less into the landfill,” said Cohee.

The bill says there are exceptions to the plastic bag ban, including at some restaurants.

People who use SNAP benefits on their groceries would not have to pay for paper bags.

A public hearing was held to discuss the bill on Tuesday.

 

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