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Eugene passes ban on Styrofoam, single-use bags for restaurants

A vote was held Monday night.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 9:33 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 9:49 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – The Eugene City Council has passed ordinances banning Styrofoam containers and plastic bags in restaurants.

The bans will go into effect at the start of 2020. A vote was held Monday night where the Eugene city council voted unanimously on both ordinances.

The ban on single-use plastic bags amends the city's current ban which has been in place since 2013. It got rid of the exemption for restaurants and makes the city in compliance with a state law that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.   

The ban on Styrofoam containers also aims to reduce waste in the city. Businesses impacted by that ban will have the opportunity to file a one-year extension if it creates undue hardship or practical difficulty.

Lane Community College student and OSPIRG member Jacob Wood testified in front of the city council in support of the ban on Styrofoam containers.

"I was fishing one day and I saw tuna that were brought in and ripped open and had Styrofoam in them," Wood said. "It was just awful because I knew some vendor was going to use the meat but couldn't because it was being polluted with Styrofoam."

After the bans were proposed, KEZI 9 News talked to Elhaam Yazdi, the owner of Caspian Mediterranean near the University of Oregon campus. Yazdi said she has already phased out Styrofoam and is working toward stopping their use of plastics bags too.

"We do currently use plastic bags. It's not something I'm proud of. It's a transition," Yazdi said.

She also said much of her business comes from students, so this ban on single-use bags will be an adjustment for both.

"We have a lot of foot traffic or bike traffic that comes through and picks up orders where you know they're used to having a handle to put something on their bicycle," Yazdi said.

Anna Reid from the City of Eugene’s waste prevention department said these two bans fit in perfectly with the Climate Action Plan 2.0.

"Single-use check-out bags and polystyrene are those single-use items that fall into the consumption bucket," Reid said.

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