Target: Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney
Goal: Encourage a ban on plastic bags in Oregon
Single use plastic bags are a huge source of pollution. They end up washed into rivers, hanging from trees, and floating out to sea. They eventually break apart into tiny, toxic pieces and become a hazard to marine life. Many cities in Oregon, including Portland, have already instituted bans on plastic bags. With the successful banning of plastic bags in several cities throughout Oregon, it is time to reconsider banning plastic bags statewide.
Using reusable bags helps conserve the petroleum and natural gas necessary to manufacture plastic bags. It also reduces the number of bags washed out to sea. Once in our oceans, these bags can kill animals that mistake the bags for food, or drown those that become entangled in the bags. Coastal states like Oregon are particularly susceptible to having these unused bags end up in the ocean. Even when plastic bags do make it to the landfill they take about 300 years to biodegrade, at which point they break down into tiny pieces which contaminate the soil and groundwater.
A citywide ban on plastic bags in Portland was recently extended to cover all retailers. Corvalis, Oregon also put a similar ban into effect. One study estimates that the ban in Portland saves about 8.5 million bags per month. If this ban were extended to the rest of the state the reduction in pollution would be tremendous. We must encourage the Oregon legislature to address this issue at the state level, rather than waiting for individual municipalities to take action.
Senate President Peter Courtney:
Plastic bags are polluting the oceans, rivers, and forests of our world. They put wildlife at risk, and degrade the natural beauty of the landscape. As you know, several cities throughout Oregon have already instituted bans on these plastic bags.
These bans are helping to conserve millions of plastic bags per month, and preventing them from ending up in our forest and waterways. The initial ban in Portland was so successful that it was recently extended to cover all retailers.
I encourage you to take action on a state level to ban this harmful source of pollution. Much time could be saved by addressing this issue with a statewide ban rather than waiting for each municipality to institute its own ban. As leader of the state senate, I hope you will come forth to champion this issue to your colleagues in the Oregon legislature.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Helen Smith via Flickr