In the news

Angela Brauer

EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) - A University of Oregon student group teamed up Thursday to collect hundreds of petitions to ban plastic bags in Eugene.

This petition comes a year after a statewide ban failed by one vote. Portland and other cities across the United States have banned plastic bags, but Eugene has yet to be one of them.

The group “Ospirg” collected about 720 signatures to pass on to Eugene City Council. They informed their peers throughout the day about what plastic does to our oceans and landfills. Volunteer Meagan Maxon, a junior at the U of O, told NewsSource 16 “Garbage Island” in the Pacific Ocean is about twice the size of Texas. Most of the island is compiled of plastics.

About 380 billion plastic bags are used across the United States every year (more than 1,200 bags per person, per year). Less than 2% of those are recycled, resulting in thousands of marine animals’ death by often being ingested or entangling critters. Nearly 46,000 pieces of plastic litter clutter every square mile of the ocean.

“Ospirg” shared all of this information and more with their peers hoping to create a movement in the Willamette Valley from plastic to paper and reusable bags. They said by doing so, children, grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren won’t have to deal with the significant problems caused by plastic pollution.

“The whole basis of our campaign is why should something we only use for 5 minutes last for several hundred years like our great-great-great great grandchildren are going to have to deal with this problem," said Maxon.

Sophie Hoover, freshmen at the U of O, agreed.

“Limiting our use today will definitely make an improvement for tomorrow. We need to take little steps such as something as easy as NOT using plastic bags to help protect our Earth because we only have on,” she said.

As cheesy as she said that sounds, it is true. It is up to each individual across the world to make for a better Earth and a better tomorrow. They suggest everyone start using reusable bags as soon as possible. “Every bit counts,” they said.

The group said they were about 60 signatures short of their goal Thursday but plan to go out again. You can visit their website here to help in their movement.

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University of Oregon