Behind the Bag Ban

By Andy Combs, Staff Writer

 

bag ban

 

Ashland, Ore—On November 6, a citywide ordinance took effect banning single-use

plastic carry-out bags at store checkouts. In an effort to encourage this transition

local stores are now required to charge a 10¢ fee for each paper bag assuming the

paper bags are at least 40% post-consumer recycled content.

The object of the ordinance is to mitigate the standard practice of end-consumer

plastic carry-out bag use and reduce the volume of the waste associated, ultimately

transitioning to re-usable carry-out bags only.

According to the City of Ashland, “with many grocers already eliminating plastic

bags, the transition has actually been underway for some time.”

It may be a stretch, but this fierce approach Ashland has taken to cut down plastic

waste could be considered by some to be on par with the sort of drastic bans and

boycotts the community of Ashland has experienced in the past in moving toward a

more environmentally minded community— the closure of the only McDonald’s in

town in 1996 is one example. This may not be a ban per se, but it seems to be

coming from some of the same motivations. Whatever the case may be, it is certainly

a unique part of Ashland’s community activism. The bag ban may be the next step

for helping the environment in some community members’ opinions.

Southern Oregon Univeristy environmental studies major, Randall Fitzpatrick,

agrees with proponants of the ordinance in that it will be beneficial:

“The plastic bag ban will incorporate Ashland into the growing movement away

from overuse of plastic and towards more sustainable and less toxic materials. The

leeching of chemicals from plastics and the plastic manufacturing process will

continue to degrade water resources and negatively affect ecosystems until the

trend is reversed. The plastic bag ban is one way we can reduce our carbon footprint

here is Ashland. “

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