- Associated Press - Monday, March 4, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Several Vermont communities are considering whether to ban plastic shopping bags, as residents across the state head to town meetings.

The measure reflects a larger trend in which cities across the United States are banning plastic goods to reduce pollution, particularly in the oceans. Some Vermont lawmakers hope that if the idea garners backing on Tuesday’s Town Meeting Day - when many communities gather to discuss local issues - it will bolster their push for a statewide ban.

Voters in Burlington will weigh in on Tuesday on whether the city council should enact a policy to reduce single-use plastics that could include a ban on plastic bags, plastic stirrers and plastic straws as well as Styrofoam food containers.

Middlebury voters will consider recommending a plastic bag ban.

Brattleboro became the first Vermont town to prohibit local businesses from giving out single-use plastic bags with an ordinance last year. Months later, Montpelier voters in November authorized the city council to enact regulations that promote sustainability by restricting the sale of single-use plastics, like plastic grocery bags.

“I don’t mind being out front here and saying this is worth looking into,” Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson told Vermont Public Radio . “And if we can be a pilot for the state, that’s perfectly fine.”

Members of the Vermont Retailers and Grocers Association would rather see a statewide ban than different local ordinances, which would be difficult for businesses, said Erin Sigrist, president of the association. She supports a bill being drawn up that would require a five cent fee on paper or plastic bags and would ban plastic bags in 2020.

“We don’t love it (the ban) in the sense that we like to provide the convenience to our members and their customers. But we understand that it’s coming,” Sigrist said. “And again, we don’t support a patchwork of bans around the state, so we feel that this is the best path forward.”


Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net

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