Move to ban single-use plastic bags gaining momentum
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A movement to ban single-use plastic bags is gaining momentum in Vermont.
Vermont Public Radio reports at least three communities went on the record during their Town Meeting Day votes to support such a ban. Residents of Middlebury and Burlington voted Tuesday while Manchester voted in favor of the idea Saturday during the floor portion of its Town Meeting Day.
The votes follow a plastic bag ban in Brattleboro that went into effect last year. In November, Montpelier voters asked for a charter change to prohibit the bags.
The measure reflects a larger trend in which communities across the United States are banning plastic goods to reduce pollution, particularly in the oceans. The National Conference of State Legislatures says a number of cities and states across the United States have enacted laws banning or charging fees for single-use plastic bags. At least 91 bills focusing on the issue have been introduced across the country this year.
The bags, which do not decompose, are usually used once and then thrown away. They can fill landfills and if not disposed of properly they can end up in rivers, lakes and the ocean where they can hurt wildlife.
Some Vermont lawmakers hope the Tuesday votes will help a push for a statewide ban.
Addison Sen. Christopher Bray, who chairs the Vermont Senate Natural Resources Committee, has introduced legislation calling for a statewide ban.
The Vermont Retailers and Grocers Association would rather see a statewide ban than different local ordinances, which would be difficult for businesses, said Erin Sigrist, president of the association.
The Vermont Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit food service establishments from providing plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene food service products and plastic straws to customers.
Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net