Ruggerio, McEntee introduce Plastic Waste Reduction Act

Ruggerio, McEntee introduce Plastic Waste Reduction Act

PROVIDENCE – Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (District 4, North Providence, Providence) and Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (District 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) have introduced legislation to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.

The Plastic Waste Reduction Act (2021-S 0037, 2021-H 5358) 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.

“The dangers plastic pollution poses to oceans and marine wildlife is well-documented, and plastic use overall contributes to the degradation of our environment,” said Ruggerio. “We must take action to reduce plastic consumption and pollution. Support for efforts to promote reusable bags is growing, as is evidenced by the many communities in our state that have already adopted similar policies. A consistent statewide policy would be appropriate and much more effective at addressing this source of pollution.”

The legislation is supported by environmental advocates, including the Conservation Law Foundation.

The legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators V. Susan Sosnowski, Dawn Euer, Cynthia A. Coyne, Sen. Meghan Kallman and Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, and has been referred to the Environment and Agriculture Committee.

House cosponsors include Representatives Terri Cortvriend, David A. Bennett, Jason Knight , Lauren H. Carson, House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski, June S. Speakman, Robert D. Phillips, Susan R. Donovan and Robert E. Craven. The bill has been referred to the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.