Yes, Please, Oregon: Let’s Ban Plastic Bags

 

Cartoon courtesy of Andy Singer

Cartoon courtesy of Andy Singer

The Oregon legislature is considering a ban on plastic grocery bags.

If the bill passes, single use throw-away bags will be outlawed at all retail establishments.

A similar bill failed last year, partly because the grocery industry was not on board. This time, though, it looks like even the grocery stores are behind the ban.

What’s changed? For one thing, several communities have managed to effectively ban plastic bags. Last November L.A. County banned plastic bags, joining Malibu and San Francisco as places in California that have passed ordinances. In American Samoa plastic bags are now banned, and in European countries, like Ireland, plastic bags have long been taxed by the government, a decision that changed consumer behavior overnight.

Since the bill is sponsored both by Republicans and Democrats, I’m cautiously optimistic that politicians are realizing that we have to make immediate and drastic changes to stop the environmental devastation happening in America and around the world.

What’s wrong with plastic bags? To do that question justice I’d have to write an entire book. But the short version is this: plastic bags are made from petroleum, plastic causes endocrine disruption that hurts our children’s bodies, plastic clogs our waterways and hurts the fish and turtles who live in streams, rivers, and oceans. These bags are ugly, wasteful, and completely unnecessary. (Click over to My Plastic-Free Life if you want to read more about the myriad evils of plastic.)

According to the AP article about the proposed ban, proponents are expecting a fight from, you guessed it, the chemical industry.

I hope the bill becomes law as quickly as possible. There was a time before plastics and there may be a time when plastics aren’t so ubiquitous. Step two: phase out plastic produce bags, plastic wrap, plastic bread bags, and plastic sandwich bags.

Ziploc engineers, are you listening? It’s time to create a reusable plastic-free alternative!

Readers, what do you think? Can Oregon ban plastic bags? What tips do you have to help us all get rid of the unnecessary plastic in our lives?


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on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 4:15 am and is filed under social change.
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