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10 Cent Bag Fee in Portland?

Plastic Bag Ban
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Paper or plastic? Doesn’t matter, you’ll be charged either way.

Last night a Portland City Council task force approved drafting an ordinance that would charge customers a 10 cent bag fee. The Green Packaging Working Group suggested a ban on polystyrene foam (better known as its brand name ‘Styrofoam’) last year.

The ordinance would impose a 10-cent surcharge on each plastic or paper bag used by grocers, restaurants, convenience stores, farmers markets and clothing cleaners. If you’re saying to yourself ‘I’m not paying that,’ good! The hope is the surcharge will curb the use of bags that ultimately end up as litter and harm the environment.

Some council members think the ‘waste reduction fee’ should only be imposed on grocery and convenience stores, where most bags are used for packaging goods. Others say it would start a ‘bag war.’

So where would the money from the bag fee go? 40% would stay with the merchants, while the city would take 60% for environmental clean-up measures.

If approved, the ‘waste reduction fee’ would take effect April 1, 2015.

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