Newport City Councilors Tuesday night officially sent a “Ban the Bag” measure to the May ballot to let the voters of Newport determine whether plastic carry out bags should be outlawed starting right around Thanksgiving.
The proposal is aimed at large carry out plastic bags. Plastic bags for grocery store deli take-out and fresh produce would not be affected. In order to encourage store customers to switch to re-usable cloth or thick walled plastic bags, the measure would levy a five cent charge for each paper bag used by a shopper. So, no plastic, five cents for paper and no charge for using one’s own reusable bags.
The placement of the ban on the ballot ends a contentious year of wrangling among members of a council-appointed “Plastic Bag Task Force” that tried for months to get a consensus on how to approach the issue. But when the task force’s final report was delivered to the council, the months of controversy among its members played out badly. Those who favored banning the bags stormed out in protest vowing to place it on the ballot. Within a short time the council did them a favor by doing it themselves. Newport residents will cast their votes by May 21st. Implementation would begin on November 21st, giving local stores time to rid themselves of any plastic carry-outbags they still have in stock.
The proposed bag ban law is very similar to one that was enacted recently by the Corvallis City Council.