The City of Portland Proudly Announces...                

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Shopping Bag Fee
(single use bags) 

On April 15, 2015, local retailers will begin charging customers $0.05 for each plastic or paper shopping bag they use to package purchased goods.  This is because of a new ordinance adopted by the City Council aimed at reduce waste by providing shoppers with a financial incentive to bring their own bags when they go shopping.  Cities, states and even whole countries around the world have adopted similar laws with an eye toward conserving natural resources, reducing litter and promoting environmental stewardship.  Shopping with a reusable bag is an effective way to reduce your environmental footprint.
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Plastic bags clog a storm water outfall in Portland.  Photo by Jeff Scher

 What is the problem with bags?

Most bags handed to shoppers by retailers are used once and then discarded.  This represents a waste of natural resources and reinforces “throw away” habits rather than conservation.  Bags made of durable materials can take the place of dozens if not hundreds of disposable bags over the course of their lifespan.   Even the light weight plastic bags commonly distributed at stores could be used several times, although they usually are not.  Plastic bags are very problematic sources of litter.   They hang from trees, block storm drains and are hazardous to wildlife on land and in our waterways.  If plastic bags reach the recycling plant they often get tangled in the machinery, creating a maintenance problem. Although they are easily recyclable, paper bags are also problematic. Their manufacturing process consumes large quantities of natural resources.  They are also quite bulky so transporting them from factories to stores requires more trucks than lighter weigh plastic bags.  The best option is to use a sturdy bag over and over as a way to avoid these problems. 

Polystyrene - Foam Packaging Ban

The City of Portland recently enacted a packaging ordinance that will prohibit restaurants, cafeterias, coffee shops, food trucks and other food service establishments from distributing their products in polystyrene foam packaging.  Instead, food packaging will need to be made of more environmentally friendly materials including paper rigid plastics.  These materials are recyclable in our program and are more environmentally friendly.
EPS Graphic
Most bags handed to shoppers by retailers are used once and then discarded.  This represents a waste of natural resources and reinforces “throw away” habits rather than conservation.  Bags made of durable materials can take the place of dozens if not hundreds of disposable bags over the course of their lifespan.   Even the light weight plastic bags commonly distributed at stores could be used several times, although they usually are not.  Plastic bags are very problematic sources of litter.   They hang from trees, block storm drains and are hazardous to wildlife on land and in our waterways.  If plastic bags reach the recycling plant they often get tangled in the machinery, creating a maintenance problem. Although they are easily recyclable, paper bags are also problematic. Their manufacturing process consumes large quantities of natural resources.  They are also quite bulky so transporting them from factories to stores requires more trucks than lighter weigh plastic bags.  The best option is to use a sturdy bag over and over as a way to avoid these problems. 
Green Packaging