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Its always a sad day when a ban or, frankly, any measure to limit the use of plastic bags fails. Its obvious consumers want limits (or credits for their reusable bag efforts) and its always surprising when industry and big business feel differently. Its nice to read that cities are planning on taking action, even where statewide action has failed.
"Bag ban and recycling proposals fail in Oregon"
June 13 -- The legislative effort to ban single-use plastic carryout bags or to set a high standard for recycling of plastic bags in Oregon has failed.
Supporters of the bill acknowledged June 10 that they did not have the support to enact either measure this year.
"It appears the time for a statewide solution to this issue has not yet arrived", said the five key legislators who had supported the measure in a jointly issued statement. "But this issue is not going away. We are not going away. And these bags aren’t going away. They will be around for a thousand years."
The letter was signed by state Senators Mark Haas, Alan Bates, Jason Atkinson and state representatives Ben Cannon and Vic Gilliam.
The concept of setting benchmark recycling targets for plastic bags emerged three weeks ago. Those targets would have required manufacturers to recycle 20 percent of the bags sold in the state by 2012, 40 percent by 2013, 60 percent by 2014 and 80 percent by 2015 and every year thereafter.
The proposed Oregon ban on plastic bags would have been the first statewide ban in the United States. The failed bill also would have placed a 5-cent fee on paper bags at checkouts.
With the demise of the bill, city of Portland officials said they would immediately pursue a plastic bag ban.
Plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. LLC had aggressively fought the ban, taking out newspaper and radio commercials and creating a website, www.bagthebanoregon.com.
The Hartsville, S.C., company employs 1,250 and has 30,000 recycling bins in place across the United States, as part of its Bag-2-Bag recycling program that began in 2004. It does not have a bag manufacturing plant or bag recycling facility in Oregon.
Mark Daniels, vice president of sustainability and environmental policy for Hilex Poly, told Plastics News that the company will recycle 25 million pounds of plastic films and plastic shopping bags this year at its recycling plant in North Vernon, Ind. That’s up from the 20 million pounds of film and bags the company recycled in 2010 and the 10 million it recycled in 2009.
Daniels said all the plastic film and bags that Hilex recycles are used to make plastic bags.
There are bans on plastic carryout bags in 22 cities in the U.S., with eight of them enacted this year. In addition, Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md., have a 5 cent tax on paper and plastic carryout bags. The Montgomery County tax goes into effect Aug. 1; the D.C. tax has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2010."