City keeps 5 cent paper bag fee

City keeps 5 cent paper bag fee
Photo courtesy Flickr user zeevveez (Creative Commons).

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene City Council declined to halt the 5 cent fee for paper bags imposed as part of the city's ban on single-use plastic bags.

Proponents maintain the ban and fee work to promote the reuse of paper bags and the use of reusable canvas bags. People in favor of the ban and fee told the City Council on Monday that change is hard and there is a learning curve involved in changing habits but that it would be premature to step back from the 5 cent fee.

Opponents called the 5 cent charge punishment for people who don't believe in the bag ban.

Nick Urhausen criticized the city for trying to keep up with its neighbors.

"We live in a monkey see, monkey do kind of culture," he said, "and because Portland did it, we can't not do it."

Urhausen also claimed the fee is causing stress to clerks forced to charge people for paper bags.

In upholding the fee, the Council agreed to review and monitor the system over the coming weeks and months.