Senate committee refines single-use plastic ban

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) A Vermont Senate Committee is scaling back a proposal to ban certain plastic products.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee is considering legislation to ban the use of single-use plastic bags and straws, along with polystyrene food and drink containers commonly used at food establishments.

Chairman Chris Bray says the bag ban, if passed, will take effect July 2020. But instead of banning straws the law will require customers to request a straw if they want one.

Meanwhile, Bray says the panel will drop the ban on polystyrene and look to create a study committee. Sen. Corey Parent says the committee heard testimony that the polystyrene ban was arbitrary.

"A red Solo cup and the coffee cup you get at Dunkin Donuts are the same plastic, except one is filled with 95 percent air, the other one's entirely plastic. You're using more plastic raw material to make that red Solo cup, which wouldn't have been banned, versus that coffee cup," said Sen. Corey Parent, R-Franklin County.

Similar bans on plastic are also being contemplated in the Vermont House.