Eugene Becomes Third City in Oregon to Ban Plastic Bags

Congratulations to the city of Eugene, Oregon, for becoming the third city in that state to ban plastic bags, joining the state of Hawaii and a handful of cities in California. Who’s next?


Eugene has become the third city in Oregon to implement a single-use plastic bag ban following the city council’s vote to ban plastic checkout bags and put a fee on paper bags. The decision will have big payoffs for Oregon’s environment and the Pacific Ocean.

{Click here to read more about alternatives to plastic bags.}

“Eugene City Councilors should be applauded for standing up for our oceans and voting to curb the flow of plastic bag pollution,” said Environment Oregon’s state director, Sarah Higginbotham. “Now, we need other cities to take action and make a lasting difference with bag bans of their own.”

Thousands of Eugenians voiced their support for a bag ban, alongside dozens of small and large businesses. As the second largest city in the state, Eugene’s bag ban will make a significant impact when it takes effect in six months, greatly reducing the estimated 67 millionplastic bags residents use annually. Eugene joins Portland and Corvallis in banning plastic checkout bags.

Altogether, Oregonians use approximately 1.7 billion plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre; in some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

{Click here for the full article.}


Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation

Congratulations to the State of Hawaii for taking a bold step towards decreased plastic pollution! You can make a difference too by making the switch to reusable shopping bags. There are many stylish and functional ways to reduce plastic pollution in your community.


Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation.


When the governor of Honolulu County signed into law the plastic bag ban last week that the County Council approved, Hawaii became the first state in the nation where every city and unincorporated area is covered by a plastic bag ban.  This was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils – a great example of local activists and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.

The City and County of Honolulu is the last of Hawaii’s counties to enact a ban on plastic bags at the point of sale. Maui and Kauai counties already have plastic bag bans in place while Hawaii County passed an ordinance that will take effect next year.  While we are excited that the plastic bag bans have been enacted, there has been a reported increase in paper bag use from locals.  Paper bags biodegrade and don’t have the same impact on wildlife but there are issues with any disposable product so local Surfrider Chapters will continue to push for more reusable bag education and potentially a fee on paper bags.

For now, let’s celebrate this important moment and spread the word to bring your reusable bags when traveling to Hawaii.  Congrats to all of the Surfrider activists and other organizations involved!

Monday: Plastic Shopping Bags

Hello! Today we are tackling plastic shopping bags. Ubiquitous, abundant, and convenient, they pose several problems environmentally. The first is that plastic bags are produced from oil. The second is that while many plastics are recyclable, disposable plastic bags are so thin that they are really only viable for “downcycling” – the term used for a recycled product which is of lesser value than the original material. Third, although some grocery stores are starting to collect used bags for recycling, many plastic bags do not get recycled. Estimates of the number of plastic bags consumed annually range from 90 to 100 billion. That’s a lot of bags! This represents a significant resource expenditure, and a waste disposal problem.

There are two ways to manage this plastic bag situation.

(A) Reuse: Save up the bags that you get when you shop and reuse them for a whole host of household tasks. In addition to reusing plastic shopping bags for another shopping trip, you can use them as trash can liners, wet clothes bags, or to collect pet waste. Pinterest has a ton of ideas for reusing plastic bags, and has some fun suggestions for how to store them: Another tip is to keep a few spare plastic bags tucked in your purse or coupon book, if you carry one.

(B) Reduce: Bring your own bag. Keep a few reusable bags in your car and by the front door so you don’t forget them. There is a variety of options for durable, reusable shopping bags: Tote bags, knit bags, and even reusable polyester produce bags.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make your own tote bags out of old t-shirts! Click here and here for two good tutorials.

Finally, because it’s hard to remember to bring your bags into the store with you, check out this website where you can order a free static window cling to remind you to bring your reusable shopping bags with you. This site also has good deals on stylish shopping bags.

Now the challenge is up to you. Take a picture of yourself using your reusable shopping bags and send it in! Or, if you tackle one of the DIY projects listed above (or another one that you think we should know about), send that in too! Every time we hear from you about a challenge you have successfully undertaken, we will enter your name in the weekly drawing. Email photos and descriptions to with subject line “Make-A-Difference Month.”

Let’s make a difference!


The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen