Oregon lawmakers propose plastic bag tax and plastic straw ban to curb waste – KATU

The Oregon legislature is considering a statewide push to reduce single-use plastic straws and a five cent tax on plastic bags.

The proposals are designed to reduce plastic waste in landfills and in the environment.

A five cent tax on single use plastic bags would be collected from customers for a new Plastic Clean-Up and Recycling Fund under the Department of Environmental Quality. The tax would be collected by retailers who sold raw, processed foods and alcohol.

Under the proposal, stores would have to a container to collect plastic bags for recycling.

On Sunday, several customers were carrying plastic bags in Hillsboro.

“I think it’ll be challenging for people as we figure out how to do without plastic bags, but I think it’s probably a good idea,” said Tammy Biddington.

Recently, the City of Portland adopted an ordinance that will help reduce plastic straws by July 2019, requiring restaurants, bars and other eateries to ask customers before giving them plastic utensils at the risk of fines.

Several Portland bars have already made the switch – with some offering their customers straws made from paper.

Bartenders elsewhere are preparing for the change to come.

“More and more people are saying no straw,” said Johnathon Jepson a bartender at Wilson’s Cafe and Sports Bar.

Certain drinks improve with a straw, he said, but getting rid of straws would be better in the long run.

“It’s not that big of a deal really at the end of the day if it’s going to help everything,” Jepson said.

The proposed bill would still allow businesses to give customers a straw if they request it.