Vt. plastic bag ban headed to House

Published: Apr. 3, 2019 at 4:14 PM EDT
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A plastic bag ban that some consider to the most progressive in the country has passed the Vermont Senate and is on its way the the House.

Under the bill, single-use plastic shopping bags and polystyrene products will be banned and plastic straws will be available by request only.

The senate voted 30-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday. Supporters say they're aiming to reduce the amount of plastic products used by Vermonters. Along with the ban on single-use plastic bags, the legislation creates a five-cent fee for paper bags. That was reduced Wednesday from ten-cents, but not before objections to reducing the fee were aired on the Senate floor.

"I think the public is just not ready to accept being charged this 10 cents at the counter and there have been no provisions for low-income folks," said Sen. Michael Sirotikin, D-Chittenden County.

Sen. John Rodgers, D-Orleans/Essex County, says a nickel for a paper bag is too low to change behaviors. "If, in fact, we're looking out for poor people, this is a poor means of looking out for poor people who may not be able to do the math themselves. I'd like to think that legislators can do math, but it seems obvious that not all of us can," he said.

The ban is considered ground-breaking because it includes polystyrene containers. However, it does exempt the polystyrene trays that fresh meat comes on at the grocery story.

The House is expected to take up the bill in the coming days. If signed into law, it would not go into effect until the spring of next year.

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