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Plastic Bag Tax Moves Forward in Portland

Plastic Bag
Matt Cardy, Getty Images

You may soon be paying five cents for a plastic bag in Portland.

The so called ‘Bag Tax’ proposed for Portland has taken another step forward. The effort is aimed at reducing bags that litter the city’s parks, catch basins and harbor. Members of Portland’s Transportation, Sustainability and Energy Committee voted 3-1 to endorse the tax. It will now move onward to City Councilors for a vote.

The bag tax would require retailers to collect a 5 cent fee for every plastic bag a customer uses. An earlier draft of the proposal set the fee at 10 cents a bag.

Not all stores will be required to collect the tax. Dry cleaners, restaurants and farmers markets would be exempt from the proposal. Stores where at least 2% of gross sales come from food, including milk, bread, soda and snacks, will collect the fee.

If passed, Portland would join at least 120 municipalities or counties around the country will bag fees or bans.

Portland is also seeking to ban plastic foam or polystyrene food and beverage containers. The City Council will take up both proposals next month.

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