Eugene, Ore. — At month’s end, residents no longer will be able to takeaway a Styrofoam container in a plastic bag from their favorite restaurants.
Eugene city councilors approved last week two ordinances that do away with the single-use plastic items. The new restrictions take effect Dec. 27.
The first ordinance bans food establishments in Eugene from providing Styrofoam take-out containers, a measure that died in the state Legislature earlier this year.
It would allow representatives of the establishments to apply in writing for a one-year exemption if the ban creates an “undue hardship or practical difficulty.” The city manager or his or her designee would decide on the requests, which would no longer be accepted after Dec. 31, 2020.
The second ordinance amends the city’s plastic bag ban to reflect the tougher restrictions under House Bill 2509, which becomes law Jan. 1.
The city’s ban has been in effect since May 2013 to encourage the use of the recyclable bags. Shoppers without recyclable bags can pay a nickel for a paper bag.
The ordinance amends the city’s plastic bag ban to no longer allow an exemption for restaurants that provide plastic bags for hot take-out food.
While the pending state law allows cities to charge more than a five-cent fee, Eugene is not changing its nickel charge.
The City Council held a public hearing on both ordinances on Nov. 18, and the restrictions were met with overwhelming support.
Recall back in June, the city imposed restrictions on the availability of single-use straws, utensils, stirrers and condiment packets (you either have to request an item or consent to being offered one).
Eugene joins a growing number of cities in restricting single-use times that critics say are wasteful and are a major source of plastic pollution.