Today advocates and city councilors congratulated Corvallis on taking a stand against plastic pollution after Corvallis officially became the second city in Oregon to ban single-use plastic bags in an unanimous vote last night.
“The City of Corvallis should be applauded for standing up to harmful waste that’s polluting our oceans and creating a disaster for wildlife,” said Sarah Higginbotham, State Director at Environment Oregon. “Corvallis is now leading the way for other Oregon cities looking to follow suit and ban the bag.”
In a press conference at the Corvallis Public Library, City Councilor Joel Hirsch spoke to the grassroots effort that turned out hundreds of citizens in support of the ban. City Councilor Mike Beilstein also attended, commenting on the successful efforts of advocates in educating the council members on developing an effective policy.
Corvallis became the first city in the state to include a pass-through cost on paper bags—a policy coupled with a plastic bag ban in cities up and down the West Coast that’s shown to effectively move consumers to reusable alternatives.
The plastic “Bag Monster”—whose attendance at City Council meetings has become a fixture and constant reminder of the 500 bags the average Oregonian uses in one year—gave farewell remarks.
“I’m headed off to other places I can still call home,” the Bag Monster announced. “I’m going to fight for my right to pollute the environment in Eugene,” a reference to the pending vote on a similar ordinance in Eugene later this month.
A representative from Oregon State University’s Student Sustainability Initiative also spoke, noting that the sustainable policies of the Corvallis community help drive their efforts on campus.
The proposed plastic bag ban would address plastic ocean pollution and harm to marine wildlife caused by the 1.7 billion plastic bags Oregonians use every year.
"Corvallis supported a statewide bag ban and when the state legislature failed after facing heavy opposition from out-of-state special interests, Corvallis residents found their voice locally and took local action," Higginbotham said.
The coalition of Environment Oregon, the Surfrider Foundation and the Mary’s Peak Chapter of the Sierra Club submitted over 1,000 citizen petitions in support of a bag ban. Over 60 businesses also signed on in support a plastic bag ban ordinance, as well as the Northwest Grocery Association.