In 2018, the fight against single-use plastic items heated up, with even more cities and countries like New Zealand choosing to ban plastic grocery bags.
In the United States, numerous cities have banned plastic bags, and the west coast state of Oregon is no stranger to the notion of plastic bag bans. 9 Oregon cities and towns have moved to ban plastic bags, including the state’s two largest cities, Portland and Eugene. Given the success of these bans, Oregon’s state legislature is considering a statewide tax on plastic bags as well as a ban on plastic straws.
LC 795 would impose a 5 cent tax on single-use plastic bags that are used in retail stores that sell food or alcohol. It would also require that these establishments provide paper bags at checkout. This tax won’t apply to meat and vegetable bags as well as other non-checkout bags. The state would allow some customers who use state benefit cards and vouchers to be exempt from the tax.
Money from the taxes raised by LC 795 would fund the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Plastic Cleanup and Recycling Fund. ODEQ has not yet reviewed or commented on the legislation.
LC 1377 would ban plastic straws from being offered to restaurant customers unless specifically requested. Straws made from natural ingredients, like sugar cane and pasta, would be exempt from the ban. Restaurants that violate the ban can be fined up to $25 per day with an annual cap of $300.
Currently there are no US states that tax plastic bags, but if LC 1377 is passed by the state’s legislature and signed by Governor Kate Brown, Oregon will become the second state, after California, to institute a ban on single-use plastic straws.