No plastic bags anywhere in Portland? City is considering it

No plastic bags anywhere in Portland? City is considering it »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor Sam Adams is pushing to expand the ban on plastic bags and pitched the idea to Portlanders on his Facebook page Wednesday night asking for everyone’s support.

Currently, the city’s plastic bag ban applies to big grocery stores, but Adams says it’s not enough and now wants to add all businesses to the list.

The ban would come in two phases:

First, bigger businesses (bigger than 10,000 square feet like bigger restaurants and retailers) would have to give up the plastic bags in March. Then smaller businesses like food carts would have to retire their plastic bags in October of next year.

Some businesses are on board with the idea and others say they can handle the extra cost, but they don't want to give up the convenience.

"There are some items that have oil (and) customers ask for plastic bags," said Joe Kortvaoui who uses plastic bags at his food cart.

Clint Colbert is voluntarily giving up plastic bags at his food cart but says paper is more expensive.

"I've never had it to this point, so I wouldn't know the exact cost, but I do know it does cost more," he said. "I'm willing to do anything to make things better as long as those amounts don't put me under."

Most of the food carts are already one step ahead of the city and only a couple out of a dozen visited by a KATU News reporter offered plastic bags as an option.

The mayor says with the bigger ban, it'll cut down on the litter the bags create all over the city and cut out problems they cause in recycling plants.

He says a study of the current bag ban shows a big improvement in more Portlanders than ever using reusable bags instead of plastic. So his reasoning is a bigger ban can only be better. He also says an all-inclusive ban will help cut back on the 1.7 million plastic bags used in Oregon every year.

The City Council is set to take a look at the plan next week.