Groups Looks to Ban Plastic Bags in RI

By April Newell 2-1-14

Environmental Rhode Island is petitioning the government to keep plastic bags out of Narragansett Bay.

On January 22, the advocacy group returned with 10,000 signatures supporting the cause.  Last year, the advocacy group delivered a petition with over 7000 signatures to state lawmakers to ban the bags, but did not succeed.

“After two summers of petitioning for a plastic bag ban, the issue has really exploded,” said Channing Jones, campaign director for Environmental Rhode Island.  “More Rhode Islanders are realizing how important it is to keep Narragansett clean.”

Rhode Island isn’t alone in their fight to go green.  Cities in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington also have initiated plastic bag bans in an effort to keep their coasts clean, and have even opened discussions for state-wide bans.

Rhode Islanders use hundreds of millions of disposable plastic bags every year according to the environmental group.  In addition to littering, wind carries plenty of plastic waste to the bay, which would be greatly reduced if the ban passes.

“The easy alternative to plastic is simply using recyclable bags, but even paper is better,” said Jones.  “Cities across the nation are picking up the idea to reduce and reuse, and I hope the trend continues.”

The 2014 bill to ban plastic bags is largely similar to last year’s version, with some operational tweaks and clarifications.  If the bill passes, it will prohibit the use of disposable plastic bags by Rhode Island retailers in January 2015 for large retailers and January 2016 for small businesses.

Click here to Download a PDF copy of the petition