Plastic bag ban passes preliminary Vt. Senate vote

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) The Vermont Senate has voted to enact a single-use plastic bag ban.

On a 27 to three preliminary roll call, lawmakers Friday voted to ban the use of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food and drink containers. It would take effect in July 2020. Instead of banning straws the bill would require customers to request a straw if they want one.

Senators Corey Parent, R-Franklin County, Jim McNeil, R-Rutland County, and Brian Collamore, R-Rutland County, voted against the measure.

Senate President Tim Ashe, D-Chittenden County, said in a statement that the bill reflects a growing effort in many communities to reduce the pollution caused by the items.

“Single use plastics are clogging our landfills, threatening our air and water quality, and endangering aquatic wildlife. In fact, single use plastic bags are estimated to kill 100,000 marine mammals every year. Since easily recyclable alternatives are readily available, the time has come for this ban,” he said.

Final action on the bill in the Senate is expected next week. A similar bill is pending in the House. Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott has not indicated if he supports the effort.

New York is also poised to adopt a similar ban as part of the state budget that's due Monday. California is so far the only state with a ban in place.