Plastic bag opponents make their case city-by-city

Aug 17, 2011

NEWPORT, Ore. – Advocates of banning plastic grocery bags are taking their cause to smaller cities. An effort to ban the bags statewide failed in both the Oregon and Washington legislatures this year.

Now, supporters are making their case to city councils across the Northwest.

Charlie Plybon is with the environmental group Surfrider Foundation. This week, he made the case for a plastic bag ban to city leaders in Newport on the central Oregon coast.

Plybon says a ban in Newport could be similar to one approved in Portland last month.

"I think where we can be consistent between local governments, that's a good idea," he says. "That being said, certain political options exist in one place that may not exist in another place."

Newport's city manager says an ordinance could go before the city council in October. Plastic bag bans have also been passed in Bellingham and Edmonds, Washington.

A lobbyist for the Northwest Grocery Association says the group continues to support a statewide ban, but calls a city-by-city approach confusing to retailers and customers.

A spokeswoman for plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly says bag bans at any level quote "punish consumers."

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