The Ashland City Council voted this week in favor of a ban on plastic bags. Plastic bag bans have seen growing public support in Oregon, with the cities of Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene adopting similar bag bans since 2011.
Here’s a press release from Environment Oregon:
Last night, Ashland took a big step by joining the growing list of plastic bag-free cities by passing the ordinance with a vote. The approved ordinance bans the use of single use plastic bag and assesses a 10-cent fee for paper bags.
Ashland has become the first city in Southern Oregon to ban plastic bags and is setting an example of sustainable leadership for the city of 20,000 people.
Last year, the Ashland Conservation Commission took up the issue, encouraging the City Council to pursue a ban on plastic bags. In November, when the full City Council first discussed a potential citywide ban on plastic bags, Ashland citizens and local businesses turned out in droves to demonstrate their support. And just last month, at the first reading of the ordinance, the council chambers were filled to capacity with supportive Ashland residents.
Over the last year, Environment Oregon collected more than 500 signatures from citizens in support of a plastic bag ban, as well as endorsements from nearly 100 local businesses. This support laid the groundwork for Tuesday’s vote and exemplifies the community support for environmental leadership in Oregon.
“The growing support for plastic bag bans is evident, with cities from Portland to Ashland passing local bans on plastic bags,” said Rikki Seguin, conservation advocate with Environment Oregon. “We look forward to working with additional cities that wish to stand up for the health of our waterways by banning plastic bags.”
Plastic pollution is a huge environmental concern; Oregonians are estimated to use more than 1.7 billion bags a year, too many of which end up as pollution in Oregon’s waterways, like the Rogue River, and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. Plastic pollution is especially harmful to wildlife, killing thousands of birds and marine animals every year. Local plastic bag bans keep more disposable plastic bags out of our waste stream and away from our waterways, thereby decreasing the threat posed to wildlife.