PORTLAND, Ore. -- The city of Portland is one step closer to banning those popular plastic grocery bags.
Mayor Sam Adams introduced a draft ordinance that calls for a ban by January 2012.
The ordinance would not only ban single use plastic bags from some stores, it would also require stores to charge five cents for paper bags.
The city is going forward January 1st, 2012. People have 18 months, plenty of warning to get used to this, said Adams.
The mayor says the goal of the ordinance is to get shoppers to change their habits.
That would force us to use the reusable bags that we ve been buying in the first place that we have a stack of in the trunk of the car, said shopper Shane Ott.
Environmental groups applaud the city's proposal, saying plastic bags litter our oceans and endanger marine life.
The more the people of Portland look into his issue the more they re going to realize they can live without, said Stiv Wilson with the Surfrider Foundation.
But not all like the idea. Phyllis Schumacher-Burger says she prefers plastic bags and doesn t want to see a ban passed.
No, I don t, because you can t put everything in one of those carry bags, said Schumacher-Burger.
As written now, the draft ordinance applies only to grocery stores with gross annual sales of $2 million, or large retailers over 10,000 feet that have pharmacy.
Fred Meyer spokeswoman Melinda Merrill says it puts her stores at a competitive disadvantage and wonders why electronic and clothing stores are not included.
All of those stores are going to be able to offer their customers plastic bags or paper bags without a fee and we re not going to be able to, said Merrill.
Adams acknowledges this is just the beginning.
The initial group that is subject to this new ordinance is the group of businesses that distribute most of these bags, but it s a start, said Adams.
The Northwest Grocery Association issued a response to the draft ordinance saying that while it agrees with a plastic bag ban it thinks all retailers should be included to reduce consumer confusion.
The proposed ban will be up for public comment for a week and then will head to city council for a vote.