Paper bag fee: City hears calls for reform

EUGENE, Ore. - A city ordinance banning disposable plastic shopping bags also requires retailers to charge at least 5 cents for paper bags to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags.

"I don't mind the 5 cents," said Leona Maricle, who supports the fee. "That's not a problem for me. I am glad to be done with the plastic."

"Well, I actually think it's the responsible thing to do," said Karen Toftemark, who also supports the fee. "I like using paper and i always forget my reusuable bag so someday I will catch on after about $15 worth of fees probably."

Not everyone is wild about it, however.

The bag fee has prompted calls for reform, from eliminating the fee to an effort to distribute thousands of reusable bags for free.

Michelle Flake said she has been shopping more in Springfield since the bag ban, where she doesn't have to pay five cents for a bag.

"It's something I wouldn't want to do all the time, as far as being affordable," she said. "Five cents, that's affordable, but I think its bogus, I just do."

If you need a bag, Councilor Alan Zelenka said 10,000 free reusuable bags will be distributed by Food for Lane County.

The City Council will revisit the bag fee issue again on July 8.