BEND, OR -- Three Bend City Councilors meet Tuesday to start developing a proposal that would impact shoppers across the city, "To ban single-use plastic carry-out bags, similar to bans that have been adopted by cities from Portland, to Eugene, to Ashland, the city of Milwaukie and others," says Bend's Senior Policy Analyst, Gillian Ockner. A total of nine other cities in Oregon have similar bans. She says it would not impact the use of plastic in grocery departments, like produce and bulk bags.
The Plastic Bag Ban Working Group subcommittee is made up of City Councilors Sally Russell, Bruce Abernethy and Barb Campbell. Ockner says they plan to create the ordinance over just two meetings, "They’re going to actually come up with an ordinance that will be presented to the full City Council on December fifth in a first reading, and then they will vote on whether or not to pass that new ordinance." The group Un-Bag Bend presented the idea to City Council over the summer.
Ockner says the goal is influence consumer behavior through regulating what stores can offer, "The acceptable alternatives that are typically identified in other ordinances that we’ve seen include 100% recycled paper bag, with 40% post-consumer recycled content, that the retail establishment can offer instead of a plastic bag if the customer does not bring their own reusable bag." The ordinance could include a fee for using a single-use sack provided by the store. Ockner tells KBND News the three City Councilors will work on the ordinance together, taking into consideration input and expertise received from all sides, "The Northwest Grocery Association has a representative who’s been working with the Surfrider Foundation throughout the state, to inform these types of policies, so that the parts of the policies reflect what they both can support – both the environmental groups and the retailers."
If it’s approved, Ockner says there would likely be a six-month grace period for retailers to use up their stock of plastic bags.