Providence City Council approves plastic bag ban

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence City Council has decided to approve a bill that would dramatically decrease the use of single-use plastic bags in the capital city.

Reusable plastic bags will be available to shoppers, but would carry a fee to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags from home.

Providence City Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan proposed an ordinance back in February. She said because of the ordinance, the city will save at least $1 million per year and remove 95 million single-use plastic bags per year from Rhode Island’s landfill.

“The production, use, and disposal of single-use plastic bags have significant adverse impacts on the environment and are a serious economic burden to the city’s solid waste disposal and single-stream recycling systems,” Ryan said. “Reducing single-use plastic bags will help to curb litter on our streets and waterways, protect the marine environment, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The bill will exempt dry cleaning bags, laundry bags and frozen food bags from the fee. The ordinance also allows retailers to keep the cost of reusable bags sold to customers. Large retailers which have already implemented bag fees will often charge as little as 25 cents per bag.

Similar ordinances have been passed in Newport and Portsmouth, as well as 61 communities in Massachusetts.

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