Ban the bag in Bend

We use 100 billion of them each year and for as little as 10 minutes a time, but they stay around for hundreds of years. What am I talking about? Plastic bags. Up and down the West Coast, cities are coming to the realization that the plastic bag is a nonsensical, wasteful and ultimately harmful entity. From Portland, Eugene and Corvallis to L.A., San Francisco and even cities in Texas, citizens of America are ridding themselves of the plastic bag culture.

The city of Bend is no stranger to calls for the end in the use of plastic bags, but councilors decided to wait to see if the state Legislature would take action. With no statewide solution in sight, it’s time for councilors to act. For a city that prides itself on being environmentally conscious, “its not easy being green ... unless you’re in Bend” (official Bend website), it seems surprising that a ban has not been implemented. Shops like Ray’s have shown their own initiative and banned the use of plastic bags, instead opting for paper and reusable bags. There is even a five cent refund if you bring in your own bag.

Bend is a honey pot for outdoor enthusiasts, who flock there every year to enjoy its, quite frankly, stunning landscape. For a city whose very image is of being at one with its natural environment, it seems highly ironic that it still employs such an archaic, environmentally degrading method of carrying its groceries. City councilors need to ban the bag in Bend.

Alasdair Muir Neilson

Portland