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Portland expands plastic bag ban


Portland, Ore. -- The city council of Portland, Ore., voted to expand the city's one-year old plastic bag ban, voting 5-0 to phase out plastic checkout bags at an estimated 5,000 restaurants and retailers.

The ban will impact retailers larger than 10,000 -sq.-ft. on March 1, 2013, and the remaining retailers on October 1, 2013. Portland's 2011 rule affected fewer than 200 businesses.

Retailers will still be able to provide plastic bags for bulk items, produce, meats, dry cleaning and prescription drugs.

Mark Daniels, chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization representing the United States' plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, which employs 30,800 workers in 349 communities across the nation, issued the following statement in response to the vote:

"Portland residents will be forced to purchase even more reusable bags which cannot be recycled, are predominately imported from China, and have been proven to harbor dangerous bacteria. Those interested in real solutions to reducing litter and protecting the environment should pursue scientifically sound, common sense policies – ones that encourage a comprehensive statewide recycling solution that address all forms of plastic bags, sacks and wraps – instead of targeting one product that makes up a fraction of a percent of the waste stream."

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