Eugene reviews plastic bag ban

Eugene reviews plastic bag ban
Local law gives new meaning to BYOB

EUGENE, Ore. -- Six months ago city officials banned plastic bags from checkout stands across Eugene. 

While many people have made a habit of grabbing their reusable bags before going to get groceries, some still say they’d prefer to choose between paper or plastic.

In May, the Eugene City Council passed a law that banned single-use plastic bags at retail stores within city limits.

Stores are now barred from handing out plastic bags and can charge customers a minimum 5-cent fee for providing paper bags. Since the law’s implementation, Zero-Waste Analyst Stephanie Scafa said half of Eugene’s shoppers pay for paper.

"You'll see decreased litter, people being more conscious of bringing their bags with them when the go to the store, things like that,” said Scafa.

Brynne Blevins is one of the many shoppers that chooses to bring their own bags to the store.

“I'd like to keep things out of the landfill. I like to teach my kids to reduce and re-use,” said Blevins.

While most people are on board with the plastic bag ban, Little Y Market owner Gary Christopherson said his customers aren’t ready to give up their plastic bags. He said it's not unusual to meet customers with food stamp cards who don’t carry the cash to cover the paper bag fee.

“I'm just going to give it to them. If that's against the law, they can come and give me a ticket. I don't care. I'm not going to let that customer leave without a bag,” said Christopherson.

Providing paper bags "is tripling or quadrupling my cost on putting out bags across the counter, when in fact, most of my customers would prefer plastic bags," he said.

At noon Wednesday, city officials are presenting a 6-month update at the Lane County Courthouse/Harris Hall to discuss how the law has been working. The meeting is open to the public.