End Plastic Bag Pollution in Portland

Target: Raihana Ansary, City of Portland Policy Coordinator

Goal: Expand Portland’s plastic bag ban to include all retailers, and add a five-cent charge for paper bags

Plastic bags used by consumers at retail stores contribute to plastic pollution in waterways, oceans, and beaches. These plastic bags are often used once and then discarded. Last year, the city of Portland passed a bill to ban plastic bags from being used at selected retailers. The bill has already been very successful in reducing the use of plastic bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags. Because of this success, the ban should be taken a step further to include all retailers in Portland.

Because they are light, plastic bags are easily carried long distances by the wind. When not properly disposed, these light bags often enter marine ecosystems. A major problem with this is that these bags biodegrade very slowly, if at all. The bags tend to separate into small pieces and cause environmental damage, such as endangering the lives of marine animals that mistake the bags for food.

After one year of the partial bag ban, Portland has seen many improvements. The Northwest Grocery Association reports a reduction of 8.5 million plastic bags per month. The city has also seen increases in both reusable and recyclable paper bag use.

Since Portland’s bag ban, more cities in the state of Oregon have begun to look into the benefits of banning the use of plastic bags. Earlier this year, the city of Corvallis passed a full plastic bag ban that included all retailers in the city.

Sign this petition and encourage the City of Portland to continue to set an example for cities across the United States, and take the final steps to eliminating plastic bag pollution by passing a total plastic bag ban.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Policy Coordinator Raihana Ansary,

I first want to applaud the City of Portland’s decision to begin the process of banning plastic bags last year. In doing so, Portland not only helped to reduce pollution and prevent environmental damage, but also set an example for the rest of Oregon and the United States.

Already the partial bag ban has yielded good results. The unnecessary one-time use of plastic bags has decreased, and so has pollution. However, by expanding the plastic bag ban to all retailers and requiring a five-cent charge on paper bags these results can increase further. Cities around the nation have already begun implementing similar legislation.

As the City Council begins to revisit the issue I encourage you to consider the benefits for both the City of Portland and the environment that can be achieved by expanding the plastic bag ban.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Flickr Here u have

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