The Corvallis City Council took a stand against ocean pollution this week, becoming the second city in Oregon to approve a comprehensive ban on plastic bags. A second reading and final vote are still required to secure the ordinance, but all city councilors are on record in support of the bill, which they voted 8-1 to enact at Monday’s meeting.
“City Councilors should be applauded for their leadership,” says Sarah Higginbotham, Environment Oregon’s state director in a press release. “Last night took us one step closer to a big victory for our oceans and for the Corvallis community, who came together to reduce the wasteful disposable plastic that pollutes our environment.”
Environment Oregon, along with the Mary’s Peak Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Surfrider Foundation testified in support of the ordinance. The coalition of organizations worked to bring together businesses, citizens, and organizations around the issue.
More than 2,400 citizens signed petitions in favor of the ban, along with 60 supportive businesses including the Northwest Grocery Association.
The city also made history by becoming the first in Oregon to include a required pass-through cost on paper bags of five cents, a policy that has been shown to encourage consumers to switch to reusable bags.
The lone dissention represented one councilor’s desire to strengthen the stated intent of the ordinance on the record, though he is in full support of the ban. Because the vote was not unanimous, the councilor will have the opportunity to make additional statements for the record when it comes up for a second reading at the council’s July 2 meeting.