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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Rep. McEntee’s ‘Plastic Waste Reduction Act’ heard in committee
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations was heard by the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee yesterday.
The Plastic Waste Reduction Act (
) would prohibit retail sales establishments from making available any single-use plastic checkout bag, and would require that any paper bags made available be recyclable, with an exception for paper carryout bags at restaurants. Representative McEntee previously introduced the bill last year.
“I am the representative from two coastal communities and we have seen firsthand the damage that plastic bags do to our oceans and environment for many years now. In Rhode Island, we throw away approximately 26,000 tons of plastic bags and plastic film every year. When you think about how little plastic bags weigh, this is a staggering amount of waste that needs to be eliminated in our state. Plastics litter our parks, clog our rivers and oceans, and choke our wildlife. These particles end up in our soil, in our drinking water, in the food we eat and in the air we breathe. Now is the time to end this environmental and public health destruction and finally pass a statewide ban on plastic bags,” said Representative McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).
Plastics that enter the marine environment break down through wave action and sunlight into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be ingested by marine life, putting Rhode Island’s fishing industries and aquatic ecosystems at risks. The legislation also acknowledges that plastic bags and thin plastic films are the predominant contaminant of recycling loads in Rhode Island, and that single-use plastic bags have severe environmental impacts on a local and global scale.
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
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