After the last attempt to ban the bag in Newport failed in a ballot measure six years ago, the Newport Chapter decided it was time to reactivate this campaign. The Chapter worked with the local Sam Case Elementary Surfrider Club to ask City Council to pass a Sustainable Shopping Ordinance. The club’s fifth graders researched plastic and presented their findings to the city council on January 22nd alongside representatives from the local waste hauler, Thompson’s Sanitary, and Surfrider staff.
The club’s fifth graders remained engaged throughout the ordinance process, testifying before city council several times. Their involvement inspired other students of different ages to engage in the process and even changed the vote of one city councilor to a “yay” vote.
The ordinance goes into effect July 1 for businesses greater than 10,000 square feet and Jan. 1 2020 for businesses whose size is below that threshold. The ordinance prevents retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags and includes a pass-through cost of five cents per recyclable paper bag and 50 cents per reusable bag.
The Newport Chapter has now shifted their efforts to supporting implementation of the ordinance. Hundreds of free reusable bags are being distributed throughout Newport for use by those who might find it a burden to have to purchase a reusable bag.