City Considering .10 Fee for Paper and Plastic Bag Consumers


By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,685)

Portland shoppers may be required to pay .10  for each paper and plastic bag they use to carry groceries home from stores that are larger than 5,000 sq. ft. in size if a proposed ordinance a city task force is discussing is passed by the group at the end of this month and receives final approval from the city council – most likely not before April of this year 2014.  Some members of the task force who met this afternoon at city hall disagreed on how soon this fee should be implemented, but most probably the ordinance would not go into effect until 90 days or up to 6 months following the council’s approval, should that come. City Councilor Ed Suslovic is the chair.

At issue is an effort by the City to encourage shoppers to use fewer paper and plastic bags and replace them with reusable bags. Each retailer will keep 40% of the fee with the remaining to the city of Portland. The proposed ordinance applies to those who make 2% or more of their sales from food products.

There are unresolved issues that city staff member,Troy Moon, was asked to research and report back to the Green Packaging Task Force for its next and final meeting on the issue on January 27th.  There will be a vote and public comment will be taken at that time.  They include expanding the language of the proposed ordinance to include other retailers who use plastic/ paper bags; i.e. dry cleaners and restaurants.  Special attention should be paid to holidays when the implementation date is considered.

Chair Suslovic invited a representative from the Restaurant Association to file a minority report if it disagrees with the final decision of the Task Force.