The UNITED STATES - The goal to eliminate plastic waste has prompted several states to ban single-use plastic items. Just recently, Vermont has joined the growing list. In the said state, restrictions on using shopping bags, drinks tears, straws, and for him for food packaging has been implemented.
On July 2020, a new law that prohibits retailers and restaurants from providing customers with single-use carryout bags, plastic cups, plastic Steelers, takeout containers, or other food containers made from expanded polystyrene, will take effect. Still, straws may be provided to customers upon request. However, this exemption only applies to people who require straws for medical conditions.
Also, the bag ban applies only to bags at point-of-sale and not to bags that are sold as household trash bags or those that are used in grocery stores to contain loose products such as grains.
Phil Scott, Vermont's governor, signed the bill into law on Monday. Earlier, however, Scott had expressed his doubts about the new charge that retailers and restaurants are required to collect for paper bags. The said charge is $.10 per bag, where small paper bags are exempted.
Rebecca Kelly, the governor's communications director, stated that Scott did say that given the overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature and has no opposition from the lead retailers, the governor expected to sign the new law.
Across the US, a number of states have already banned one or more of these plastic items. Vermont is listed as the first state to ban all four products, all in a single bill.
Judith Enck, a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional administrator who heads the plastic pollution initiative at Bennington College stated that Vermont has now established a national precedent of tackling three of the worst examples of plastic packaging in single state law.
Some states that have banned disposable plastic bags include Hawaii, Maine, California, and New York.
Jen Duggan, the director of the Vermont conservation law foundation, stated that cities and counties that have passed bag bans often defined prohibited bags by the thickness or by its measurements. This has prompted the government of Vermont to outlaw plastic carryout bags that do not have stitched handles. This would still promote bag reuse while discouraging manufacturers from skirting bag bans just by making thicker bags. Duggan explains that by using stitched handles, it effectively ensures that carry out bags will be made from reusable polypropylene or cloth.