Rhode Island Moves Closer To Plastic Bag Ban
If Bill Passes It Would Be Enforced First At Large Retailers
Newly-introduced legislation would create a statewide single-use plastic bag ban in Rhode Island, a proposed law that would be the first of its kind in the nation. If the bill is passed, the ban would be enforced at large retailers, like grocery chains, starting in January of 2014 and at smaller stores a year later.
"Banning plastic bags is a simple, effective way to eliminate pollution," said Rep. Maria Cimini, the lead sponsor of the bill. "As the Ocean State, Rhode Island should be a leader on this issue."
Last year, Barrington became the first town in Rhode Island to institute a single-use ban, joining a national trend that originated in San Francisco and has spread south and east. Environmental groups across the country have long blamed plastic bags for polluting waterways. Protecting the famed Narragansett Bay from plastic debris has become a focus of environmentalists in Rhode Island.
"The bill's introduction is an important first step," said Channing Jones, a spokesperson for Environment Rhode Island, which has collected thousands of signatures in support of a state plastic bag ban. "Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute Narragansett Bay for future generations."
Rhode Island is not the first state to consider a plastic bag ban. Similar bills did not pass in California and Hawaii, although The Aloha State restricts plastic bags through individual county bans.