Rhode Island is joining California in the movement to ban single-use plastic grocery bags statewide.
The Plastic Waste Reduction Act, H7178, was introduced on January 23 by Rhode Island State Representative Maria Cimini, who also authored the last state bill on this issue. It seeks to reduce and remove plastic bag waste in Rhode Island and encourage use of recycled paper bags and reusable bags.
Like Senate Bill 270 in the California State Legislature (which was amended today), H7178 would phase out thin plastic carryout bags throughout its state. Rhode Island’s bill however, includes all retail stores and does not place a mandatory charge on reusable bags or recycled paper bags.
In comparison, California's SB 270 covers grocery, convenience, and drug stores and includes a 10 cent minimum requirement on paper and reusable bags, to further disincentivize bag waste.
The Plastic Waste Reduction Act is currently in the House Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. Check the status on the State of Rhode Island General Assembly website.
SB 270 is also awaiting its first policy committee hearing in the Assembly.
Currently, no state legislature has adopted a plastic bag ban, although the entire state of Hawaii is covered under local bag ban ordinances.