Rhode Island’s First Plastic Bag Ban

Rhode Island’s First Plastic Bag Ban

Barrington Sets The Stage For Other R.I. Cities
Oct. 3, 2012 (PBBR) - The Town Council of the Town of Barrington, Rhode Island has adopted the first plastic bag ban in the State of Rhode Island. Councilor Weymouth said there were other cities just waiting for Barrington to set the stage.

afternoon light at cove haven marina, barrington, rhode island
Afternoon light at Cove Haven Marina, Barrington, Rhode Island. Used by permission of author: studio lolo from flickr.com

At the Council's regular meeting on Monday, October 1st, time was allowed for businesses and citizens to voice their opinions of the proposed Reusable Checkout Bag Initiative. There were plenty of opinions both in support and opposition.

Many spoke about the Shaw's Supermarket's decision to eliminate plastic bags, along with several other businesses. One person said the Council should just be happy with businesses voluntarily banning bags and be done with the issue.

Another person said the Council had before it a unique opportunity for stewardship. She stated, "We can be the first municipality in Rhode Island to ban single-use plastic bags. We can be an example for other municipalities in this state. Let's do the right thing and get this thing done tonight."

Another gentleman stated, "We should not be in a disposable economy anymore. We have to put an end to this waste and understand that our actions today affect the future."

Channing Roberts from Environment Rhode Island also spoke. He also presented to the clerk a petition that was circulated by Environment Rhode Island with all the signatures of people that signed the petition. He then urged Council to pass the ordinance.

Councilor Kate Weymouth stated, "This is one of the most critical environmental issues of our time." She then gave two personal accounts of why she feels this is such a critical issue.

She went on to state, "Plastic bags are the low hanging fruit on what will be an environmental paradigm shift." At the end of her comments, she made a motion to adopt the Reusable Checkout Bag Initiative.

Councilor Coyne then made a motion to add an amendment, The Sunset Clause. The Sunset Clause will require the ban to expire in two years. At that time, the Council will revisit the ban and decide to extend it or let it die.

Council voted 4-1 to adopt the Reusable Checkout Bag Initiative as amended with the Sunset Clause.

Cover photo: Belton Court in Barrington, Rhode Island. Author: Kenneth C. Zirkel. Originally from flickr.com. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)