Last week in Rhode Island, a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that would ban plastic checkout bags statewide.  Environment Rhode Island has been working tirelessly to educate our state about the issue and encourage passage of the bill. Tonight I attended a letter-writing party and submitted the following letter to the editor to the Sakonnet Times;

To the editor,

Growing up in Tiverton, some of my fondest memories occurred near the water, playing on the seawall in front of my parent’s house and spending long summer days at Fogland Beach. I have no doubt that the time I spent in these gorgeous settings is what lead me to pursue a career in marine science and conservation, so I could better understand and protect this important resource. Right now, our entire state has an opportunity to protect it too.

Last week, a bill was introduced that would ban plastic bags at every store’s checkout counter. This announcement came one day after the nonprofit group Environment Rhode Island delivered a petition signed by 10,000 Rhode Islanders who support the ban.

Plastic bags are a significant problem in our state for several reasons. Besides being an eyesore, they also clog storm drains and tax our water treatment systems. But the worst effects occur when they reach our beloved Narragansett Bay. Once these bags make it to our waterways, they choke and entangle important marine life that we depend on for tourism and sustenance. Plastic bags do not biodegrade, but break into tiny pieces that absorb toxic pollutants in the water and accumulate up the marine food chain.

Plastic bag bans have successfully passed in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and our very own Barrington RI, but we have an unprecedented opportunity to pass the first statewide ban.  Please call your local representatives in support of the ban on plastic checkout bags. I can’t think of a better way to show appreciation for our Ocean State.

Caitlin Luderer Mandel

If you are local, I ask that you please consider contacting your local representative to voice your support for this bill.  It’s an exciting opportunity to be the first whole state to ban these destructive and unnecessary items.

image credit: Surfrider Foundation

4 comments on “Ban the Bag”

  1. That’s great! I’m from RI and it’s nice to see my home-state considering taking a huge step towards making our world a little cleaner and greener. (P.S. I can tell I’m going to love your blog already!)

  2. Multnomah County, Oregon (which includes Portland, OR)banned plastic bags over a year ago, and we are surviving! All stores have switched to paper bags and many more people are carrying cloth bags. The only exceptions to the ban seem to be the flimsy little produce department bags in the supermarket, and restaurants, who still use plastic bags for take-out.
    Your next assignment, is to ban Styrofoam from Little Rhody! Good luck!

  3. Unfortunately in Queensland, Australia they still haven’t banned plastic bags so a community collaboration called Boomerang Bags has taken matters into their own hands. Volunteers make bags out of recycled material and then leave them in bins around a popular shopping street so people have the option of taking a recycled bag, rather than using plastic and returning it later. Such a great way to get community together working for a great cause.

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