SALEM, Ore.— The Oregon Senate voted Tuesday to prohibit single-use plastic shopping bags, joining a growing movement to reduce plastic pollution in oceans.
The Senate voted 17-12 to keep grocery stores and restaurants from providing such bags. Stores would still be able to offer recyclable plastic and paper bags for a 5-cent fee, something opponents said punished consumers.
The bill will now go to Gov. Kate Brown for consideration. She previously spoke in support of the measure.
Oregon would join California, New York and Hawaii in banning single-use plastic bags.
“Something we use once shouldn’t be able to pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Portland Democrat behind the measure.
Democrats were stopped short of pushing through their full environmental agenda when the Senate rejected a ban on food containers made of polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam.
Republicans were against both measures and argued that the bans stifled technological innovation. They also said lawmakers should let the free market come up with solutions to the plastic problem.
Supporters said the bans were meant to reduce the ever-increasing amount of plastic pollution in the oceans.
Sen. Arnie Roblan and Sen. Betsy Johnson, two Democrats representing coastal areas, voted for the plastic bag ban and joined Republicans in rejecting the prohibition on Styrofoam containers.