Bag Bans Proposed In RI - What Do You Think?

Bristol might follow Barrington's lead, Providence Rep. proposes state-wide ban.


Plastic bags, a retail staple conveying purchases from shoes to groceries, endanger wildlife, comprise the majority of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of seaborne junk — and may be banned in Rhode Island.

Barrington passed a local ban on plastic bags in October that took effect Jan. 1. Bristol is considering a ban as well, though a vote on the matter has been postponed for further study.

Rep. Maria Cimini (D-Dist. 7, Providence) is proposing her own state-wide ban of the bags, H-5403.  

"With Narragansett Bay, hundreds of miles of coastline, dozens of islands, and hundreds of bodies of water including rivers, ponds, and lakes, Rhode Island faces a real threat from plastic pollution. Single-use plastic checkout bags are a primary source of this pollution, littering Rhode Island's neighborhoods, parks, and roadsides, as well as aquatic and coastal environments, posing a direct threat to wildlife and accumulating in waterways. A ban on these plastic bags is the most effective way to eliminate this source of pollution," Cimini's bill reads. 

Cimini's ban is modeled on the Barrington ban, according to a report by EcoRI.org, and would start January 2014 for large retailers and January 2015 for small retailers. 

The ban applies to plastic bags at checkout lines. Dry cleaning plastic bags and bags that hold produce, deli meat and flowers would be exempt. Fines range from $150 to $300 dollars. The state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) would oversee the ban. Retailers will be allowed to charge 10 cents per bag for recyclable paper bags.

Locally, a ban would apply to stores like Shaw's on Diamond Hill Road, which uses plastic bags at their checkout lines. The store also uses reuseable bags and recyclable paper bags. 

Steve Sylven, external communications manager at Shaw's, said they'd prefer a state-wide ban. "Shaw’s is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable operations, which includes reducing the use of single-use carry out bags from our stores and encouraging reusable bag use.  In general, we support efforts to ban single use carry out bags and prefer the proposals should be done at the state level," Sylven said. 

"We don’t generally support local bans because they can be confusing to customers who shop at more than one of our locations.  It can also be a competitive issue, where we see customers simply cross over to the next town to shop," Sylven added. 

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRCC) opposes Cimini's ban, EcoRI.org reports, because it would end the state's bag recycling program, ReStore.

What do you think about a statewide ban? What about a plastic bag ban in Woonsocket? Tell us in the comments.

Yvette M Ayotte February 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM
I see these bags all over the place. I see them in trees, ponds, lakes, our oceans, and there are thousands of them hanging on the fence at the landfill in Johnston. I see bird's nest with the bags in them and it's so sad to see. Please get rid of these things and save our earth. We need to save our wildlife and make this a better world for ALL to live.
Doctor February 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM
We should return back to the good old days of the paper bag. How about the doubled paper bags at the supermarket or even better, the insulated ice cream bags. Outlets such as Sears can bring back the large paper bags with the handles and their logos printed on the bag.
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 01:14 PM
First we were told to use plastic because we were killing too many trees using paper, now plastic is bad - give me a break! Most people I know (like myself) RECYCLE these bags by using them in their waste paper baskets, etc. If you don't, there are many stores that you can drop them off at to be recycled. I do not nor will I ever use cloth bags for my groceries. It has been proven that using cloth bags for groceries is a health risk: things leak, bacteria grows - GROSS! And the last thing I want or need is more laundry! With paper bags, you run the risk of bringing home "critters" that lay eggs on the paper. If a private company or citizen wants to make the decision not to use them, fine, but why should I be forced to do so? All I can say is things in the state must be alot better than I know and witness everyday if something this petty is at the top of our "to do" list! This is not something that should involve government - especially now! There are far more inportant things to worry about than what we use to put our groceries in, don't you think?
Rob Borkowski (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Looking at my own use and re-use of these bags honestly, eventually they end up in the trash, in other words, the environment. As for the use of paper bags making you sick, that's not necessarily true: http://www.rifuture.org/caution-plastic-bag-bans-will-not-make-you-sick.html
Stephen Weber February 28, 2013 at 02:50 PM
I've mostly used cloth re-usable bags for years.. Plastic breaks and once a bag breaks on ya once ya never forget it... Cloth bags are strong ... Never break .. I also hate seeing all the plastic bags in trees and on the ground everywhere... Wind catches them and makes an area look like a dump...
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 03:22 PM
So instead of reusing the plastic bags I get from shopping, I will buy the ones for small wastepaper baskets - what is the difference? I didn't say that paper bags would make you sick - it's the CLOTH ones that hold a potential health hazard if they aren't washed. Those who feel strongly about it are more than welcome to VOLUNTARILY opt out of using plastic. What I choose to use is no one's business but mine!
Yvette M Ayotte February 28, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Well then CB11 by all means your convenience with these bags are way more important than saving our wildlife and environment. Ummm.
Brenda Woonsocket February 28, 2013 at 04:31 PM
paper bags rip to easy and did you ever try carrying paper bags for a long distance the handles help big time going back to paper would be to destroy tons of trees smarten up plastic is the way to stay. and i think were charged enough for food to have to pay for bags give me a break!
Yvette M Ayotte February 28, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Thanks Rob!!
English first February 28, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I have given up using these bags long ago. Sometimes I go into a store and buy a candy bar or a greeting card and they want to put it in a bag. What a waste. I think if you want to use them they should be 2 pennies a piece. (There is a place for them perhaps when things are wet.) Bring your own fabric bags from home.
Rick February 28, 2013 at 05:53 PM
I think it's time to get rid of these once and for all,and if they keep making them any thinner they'll be useless anyways.I'm trying to use the reusable bags Stop&Shop has,they work great just can't get pass feeling like I'm holding a women's purse when I'm waking in the store.Small price to pay to do my part to help do away with not only an eyesore but a danger to the environment..
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 06:58 PM
It's ridiculous! If all the people who want to ban them just stop using them, wouldn't there will be less in the world to worry about? RI is doing sooooo well - aren't you happy to know we have nothing more important to worry about besides "paper or plastic"?
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I use and re-use them responsibly. I have no guilt about it.
Baywatch February 28, 2013 at 10:37 PM
cutting down trees to make paper isn't really going to help your case. Once Again, people can't take responsability for themselves and look to the government to mommy their lives. Use the bag and then recycle it, it's not a difficult concept. Wow, it's really sad that no one will make any effort to exhibit some control and responsability. Are you people all unable to modify your behaviour unless it's mandated by the government? Yikes.
Baywatch March 01, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Take some responsibility and choose to modify your behavior (if indeed it needs modifying) without the government mandating it. Some of us act like responsible adult citizens and are able to use the plastic bags and properly recycle them when we are done with them. If the environment is your bag, then you should already know that deforestation is a much greater threat than some nitwit that is too irresponsible to handle a plastic bag.
Camilo March 01, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Recycling plastic bags till this day has not worked most municipalities average less then 3% recycling rate. What is the problem Landfill space? pollution? waste diversion? oil usage? What communities need to do is ban plastic bags which then give us the opportunity to build off something larger, composting. Bags distributed from all grocers should be compostable bags meeting ASTM 6400 with a tax per bag. The revenue generated from the tax will be spent on further developing composting solutions through out the state.
Dean Kamen Beringer March 01, 2013 at 06:05 AM
Even if this had nothing to do with the environment I would choose using my own reusable bags.They're easier to carry,the handles on mine are comfortable and you can put a lot more in them.As for harmful bacteria,trust me it all over the grocery stores and in most home kitchens already.Keep your bags and your home clean and you'll be way ahead of the cleanliness factors that exist in most retail environments.Using those cheap plastic bags to line your garbage cans is just inviting more bacteria into your home because they break open easily allowing all that nasty stuff to build up on everything they touch.I've been using reusable bags for 15 years (not the same ones mind you) and have never looked back.Why are we even waiting for another study to implement this ban statewide ? Oh,that's right.We have to do everything the hard way to satisfy the masses who can't be bothered to think about any positive change or long term solution that causes them even the slightest inconvenience.
Still Hope March 01, 2013 at 03:02 PM
I kill more squirrels with my car than plastic bags ever will. I'm a danger to the environment. I'm also an eye sore. You can sometimes find me up in a tree. I am not easily recycled. I am, however, very convenient. I can carry lots of things at once and I can be used for many different purposes. I plan to stick around for many decades to come. Please do not ban me also :(
Still Hope March 01, 2013 at 03:43 PM
So, on a more serious note. WAY too much misinformation in this forum. Disposable plastics have been redesigned in recent years. The packaging industry is moving to plastics made using corn by products. The newest iterations are biodegradable and generally have a 6mo shelf life. The problem is since they decompose, you cannot use them for the food industry. However, for all other retail, it is a great solution. You can currently see these types of packaging if you've bought Ugg boots in the last couple years. So, banning a useful product rather than modification deprives that product of positive progress. If you smash your face on your steering wheel, you don't ban the car, you invent airbags. Don't ban bags, fix them. As for paper bags: yes they come from trees. They are grown on tree farms. Just as corn is grown on corn farms. No wildlife is murdered. No ecosystem is compromised. The ozone layer isn't destroyed. The trees are planted, grown, harvested, and replanted every few years. Depending on the type of paper, the trees can take from 6mo to 6yrs to grow. The trees you see on TV being raped from rainforest are for lumber. If you've ever built a house are an addition, you have murdered the Earth a little bit. Bags, not so evil.
Tristan March 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM
I don't know Hope. There is a big concern about the fact that no matter how you design plastic, if its made from petroleum, it's not going to biodegrade for 200+ years. Every time we use a plastic bag, we’re leaving behind a small legacy of waste for future generations. As the polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances can leach into the soil and enter the food chain. The problems with plastic are so disproportionate to the benefit, a benefit which is negligible at best. Paper biodegrades. Although there might be the possibility of corn-based plastic (which i do not know about) you can't argue that such innovations are an exception, not the norm. Because our normal behavior regarding commercial transactions is so harmful to the environment, the food chain, and pretty much everything, if we were smart, we'd stop using single-use plastic bags. Check out: www.banbags.org/pb/index.html www.facebook.com/BanBagsinMA Be well!
English first March 26, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Use fabric bags. They are strong, they have handles and they are reusable. They don't pollute the environment and we don't have to cut down trees.Stop the argument.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something