Friday, July 9, 2010

Working toward Baning Plastic Bags in Portland

Portland Mayor Sam Adams told Sustainable Life last year that he favored a ban on plastic bags in the city, and he tried to have a committee work on the issue. But then the issue was dropped when the recession hit. Adams said in February 2009 that it wasn’t the time to impose a 5- to 20-cent tax on plastic bags when people were struggling to make ends meet.
But Stiv Wilson, a Portland environmental activist who’s leading a “Rise Above Plastics” campaign, says it’s time to revive the proposal for a bag tax or outright ban. The Northwest Grocery Association is even willing to work with the effort, Wilson says.
“To us this is low-hanging fruit, a no-brainer, a win-win,” he says. “I think we’re falling behind.”
As communications director for 5 years – a nonprofit group that also aims to ban plastic bags globally – Wilson says he went to Geneva, Switzerland in June to talk to the United Nations, at the U.N.’s request, to discuss plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
Wilson plans to address the Portland City Council July 14, then hold a day of events including a 6 p.m. celebration at the Keen Inc. shoe company’s Pearl District headquarters, 926 N.W. 13th Ave.
“What I cannot stand is we live in this progressive community, we have a fairly progressive City Council, and every time the economy is in trouble, this argument between environment and jobs comes up,” Wilson says. “It’s false, it’s just not true.”
For more information on the campaign, see .
– Jennifer Anderson


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