PORTLAND -- Draped in plastic bags from their necks to their knees, at least four opponents of plastic shopping bags celebrated the approval of a ban on the bags at major grocery chains and big-box stores.
The Portland City Council approved the ordinance Thursday night.
The rule takes effect Oct. 15 and is designed to curb pollution. Mayor Sam Adams proposed the ban after this year's legislative session did not enact statewide restrictions.
"Plastic bags are a nuisance, jamming up recycling facility machines and costing those facilities tens of thousands of dollars a month in maintenance and labor to fix the mess," Adams said.
The Oregonian reported the ban targets supermarkets with $2 million or more in gross annual sales, plus stores with pharmacies and at least 10,000 square feet of space, such as Target and Walmart.
"We can use other things," bag-ban supporter Mark Gamba told KATU-TV. "In my family, we've been using canvas bags for 15 years."
The ban does exempt plastic bags used for produce, meat and bulk food at grocery stores. Pharmacists dispensing medicine may use plastic bags to protect a customer's privacy.