Portland Restricts Plastic Utensils

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to pass the Prohibitions and Restrictions on Single-use Plastic ordinance to reduce the automatic distribution of single-use plastic serviceware in the city.

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability worked with Mayor Ted Wheeler's office to research the policies of other cities, conduct a series of workgroup meetings, analyze community feedback and land on a policy recommendation. 

Restrictions on plastic serviceware includes straws, stirrers, utensils and condiment packaging.   

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, says the threat that plastics pose on our environment can't be understated. There's an accumulation of millions of tons of plastics called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that's floating in the Pacific Ocean. It's three times the size of France and twice the size of Texas.  

Commissioner Nick Fish says Portland's small business community is on board because they want to help the environment and less waste helps their bottom line.

 Plastic serviceware will still be available, but only if the customer asks for it. 

The ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam already in place is included under this new ordinance, which goes into effect July 1st, 2019.

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