On July 29, members of the Portland Chapter of Surfrider and Leave No Plastic Behind requested the Portland City Council to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags in Portland. During testimony, Surfrider presented 2,700 petition signatures, as well as a letter signed by 43 local businesses, groups, and neighborhood associations in support of the platform. Portland Mayor Sam Adams was among those who expressed support. “I applaud what Surfrider is doing nationwide to bring attention to this issue. Single-use bags represent an important opportunity to rethink our consumption patterns. People look to Portland as a leader in sustainability, and I think it’s time to take the helm and reduce unnecessary waste in disposables and excessive packaging.” Every year, 100 billion petroleum-based plastic checkout bags are used in the United States, requiring an estimated 12 million barrels of oil each year. Sadly, less than 5% of these bags are recycled each year and cities, counties, and non-profit organizations must pay millions of dollars each year to clean up the litter. Further, it is estimated that 60-80% of all debris in the ocean is plastic. Most types of plastic never truly biodegrade and marine animals often get entangled in the debris or mistake it for food. If you haven’t already, please sign the online petition and check us out on Facebook (Ban the Bag). Also, please see media release and sign-on letter below.