City Council unanimously passes ordinance to reduce single-use plastics in Portland

Plastic straws like these will be prohibited at Seattle restaurants after July 1. (KOMO News photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A proposal aimed at reducing litter and saving sea creatures passed through the Portland City Council with a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The proposal forbids local restaurants, bars and coffee shops from giving out plastic straws or other single-use utensils unless they ask for them.

The same goes for plastic cutlery for take-out orders or deliveries.

The new rules will go into effect July 1, 2019.

If a business gives out single-use plastics without asking the customer first, they could face fines.

“This is a great step in the right direction in reducing plastic waste in Portland!” Wheeler tweeted.

The city restrictions would be imposed on all plastic serviceware - defined by the city as straws, stirrers, utensils, and condiment packaging.

A public survey on the proposal garnered over 4,000 responses, with most of them showing support for the ordinance.

Portland has long been a leader in enacting policy to cut back on litter. The Rose City has restricted the use of polystyrene foam since 1990, and passed a citywide plastic bag ban in July of 2011.

The new ordinance will repeal those city codes on Styrofoam containers and plastic bags, replacing them instead with the Code Prohibitions and Restrictions on Single-use Plastic.

You can read the ordinance here.

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