EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- The issue of whether to ban plastic shopping bags in Eugene is nearing a vote in the Eugene City Council. Members of the council want to hear more on the issue from citizens before making a decision. The City Council has already held work sessions on the topic, but Tuesday night the first official public forum was held.
Four major environmental groups with local members say they are in favor of the ban and at least one group would also like to see a ban on paper bags as well. The groups have collected more than 1500 petition signatures supporting the ban.
Environment Oregon points to the Pacific Ocean’s Garbage Patch to show what happens when the bags end up in the water.
“Millions of sea turtles, whales, sea otters eat plastic every year and die, choke, suffocate. And then on top of that, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Obviously we have fish that are eating it, so it just never goes away,” said Environment Oregon’s State Director Sarah Higgenbotham.
On the flip side, some shoppers say buying reusable bags is an extra cost they don't want to pay. Several businesses claim paper bags cost more, so they might have to pass that cost on to customers.
The Eugene City Council has not set a date for a vote.