Add another city to the plastic-bag ban. Providence, Rhode Island’s single-use plastic bag ban will start October, 22. Most retailers will offer paper bags and bags including those for dry-cleaning, newspapers, frozen foods, meat and fish will not be included in the ban, according to the Providence Journal.

Businesses can apply for exemptions as needed. The city has been working since the summer to spread the word on the ban. To let consumers know, they city has advertised using radio, newspaper ads, social media and poster printing. The mayor also visited businesses in person to discuss the ban.

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Environmental groups are giving away reusable totes to citizens that want one in public libraries and other locations.

The City Council passed the ban by unanimous vote in April 2019. Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan said of the ordinance,  “Let us send a message that we are good stewards of our environment and that we are committed to preserving and protecting our natural resources.” Ryan co-sponsored the bill.

Single-use plastic bags are a contaminant in Providence’s recycling system, jamming up the gears and processing. If plastic bags are found in recycling, they are rejected by the recycling plant and the city is fined. Removing the bags, Ryan hopes, will help overall recycling in the city. In 2016, Providence’s recycling rate was 8.6% and it paid $820,000 in fines.

Single-use plastic bans are in place around the nation, including states like California and Oregon. Single-use plastic bags gum up recycling centers, like in Providence, and are harmful to marine life. However, some states have a ban on banning plastic bags, the so-called “ban on bans” law.

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Read more about plastic pollution in One Green Planet. And check out Delaware’s planned plastic-bag ban.

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