The Newport City Council Monday night is expected to send a proposal to ban plastic shopping bags off on a journey of exploring methods to reduce or eliminate their use in Newport. The local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation couldn’t convince a majority of the council earlier this year to outright ban the bags which they contend is a major pollution hazard to wildlife along with being a litter and carbon footprint problem because they’re made from processed oil. A majority of the councilors decided they wanted to hear more from town’s businesses and others who would be directly affected by such a ban.
City Councilors David Allen and Sandra Roumagoux came up with the idea that a task force, made up of representative of all “stakeholder groups,” might come up with something between an outright ban and a near-ban using clever marketing and educational programs to convince the public to cut back in favor of using permanent cloth bags.
The task force proposed by the councilors includes a member from the Surfrider Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, Lincoln County Solid Waste District, Lincoln County Solid Waste Haulers, Northwest Grocery Association, JC Market, Newport Farmer’s Market, Large Retailer (non-grocery), Small Retailer (non-grocery) and at least two members of the public.
The council Monday night is expected to give the task force an order that “it is their responsibility to identify approaches to reduce or eliminate the use of single-use plastic check-out bags and ways to measure the effectiveness of the program. This may include community outreach and education, local recycling efforts, a local ban either with, or without a charge/deposit on paper checkout bags, or a combination of these or other approaches.”
The task force will have until September 12th of this year to report back their findings to the city council as to which method to take to address the issue of plastic bags. The city of Portland has already banned plastic bags in a number of uses. The city of Corvallis is said to be close to a ban. Others are considering similar proposals.