Rhode Island governor signs law banning plastic bags

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Diving brief:

  • Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee has signed legislation banning single-use plastic bags from grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail businesses.
  • The law project, HB7065will come into effect one year after the Department of Environmental Management issues regulations for its application or on January 1, 2024, whichever comes first.
  • Many cities in Rhode Island already have their own bag bans, but Senate Speaker Dominick Ruggerio, who sponsored the bill, said the new law makes regulations “consistent across the state” while reducing pollution, especially marine litter.

Overview of the dive:

The Rhode Island state legislature has been trying to pass such a bill since 2013, but it had failed to gain traction so far, according to the Providence Journal. reported. Many state residents are already in the habit of bringing their own bags to the store, as 17 Rhode Island communities already have some type of bag restriction.

Darrell Brown, vice cream president and director of Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island, said more than half of the state’s residents live in a prohibited town or city. “This is a long-awaited victory, as many citizens have already asked for it,” he said.

The new law adds consequences for retailers who violate the ban: they will be fined $100 for the first offense in a calendar year, $200 for the second offense and $500 for each offense thereafter.

Stores will still be able to offer recyclable paper bags.

The law contains language requiring reusable bags to have “sewn-in handles” and be rated for 125 or more uses. The CLF and other supporters of the law say the wording prevents retailers from replacing thin plastic bags with thicker plastic bags and echoes the language used in several other bag ban orders across the country. State.

The law exempts certain types of single-use plastic bags, including plastic bags for newspapers, bags for unpackaged baked goods or prepared foods, and dry cleaning bags.

Rhode Island joins nine other states with bag bans, including other northeastern states such as Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New York. New JerseyThe bag ban came into force in May. Colorado passed its own ban last year, which also repealed its pre-emption law, a type of policy that prevents municipalities from creating their own stricter plastic packaging ordinances.

Ruggerio said the ban will help reduce plastic pollution in the state’s waterways and mitigate contamination from recycling loads, a case he presented in The previous years he advocated for the bill. “We all know how dangerous plastic pollution is to the health of our oceans and marine life, and how it contributes to climate change,” he said in a statement.

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