Eugene City Council passes ban on plastic bags Monday night

The Eugene City Council passed an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags Monday night at Eugene Public Library.

In their temporary council chambers, members passed the motion with a vote of 6-2, with councilors Mike Clark and George Poling opposing.

Local grocery stores will charge  a minimum of five cents per paper bag a customer uses. The ban will take effect in six months.

Council members heard from citizens and concerned figures in the audience prior to the vote. Environment Oregon spokesperson Sarah Higginbotham noted that the use of one-time bags damages the environment permanently.

“The city estimates that they use 67 million bags that then get dumped into our environment,” Higginbotham said.

Many councilors argued that while plastic bags are indeed reused, not enough people reuse bags to reach a sustainable level.

“Some people reuse the plastic bags, yes. But not everyone does,” Councilor Pat Farr said in response to Councilor Poling’s argument that almost all bags are reused by Eugenians.

Mayor Kitty Piercy said she had supported the initiative from its initial stages of legislation.


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