Call to Action – Plastic bags

We have all worked hard to eradicate plastic bags from Aquidneck island and helped our neighboring communities to establish uniform and consistent ordinances to eliminate plastic bags, and promote stewardship of the environment. Rhode Island is proud to have nearly 500,000 people with a uniform and consistent ordinance, including major tourist and business hubs of Providence and Newport, so we can easily imagine that millions of people come to Rhode Island and enjoy the leadership of the Ocean State to tackle plastics.


The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on Thursday, June 6, on H-5671, the plastic bag ban bill, that will result in more plastic entering our environment by allowing thick plastic bags and preempting local ordinances. Three of the problems with the bill: (1) The bill does not require stitched handles like the ordinances passed in fourteen communities representing about ½ the population of the state, (2) The bill preempts/overrides plastic bag ordinances that exist now, and it prevents all communities from passing plastic bag ordinances in the future, (3) The bill requires a fee on paper bags but allows thick plastic bags to be given out for free.

Here is a link to bill.The Committee is NOT hearing any testimony – it is scheduled to vote only – so it’s critical to contact the Committee members before the vote. PLEASE HELP via email and phone to the Speaker of the House and Members of the Committee and request, and use this list:

Sample dialogue 1 – I do not support the statewide plastic bag ban H5671 as currently written, because it does not require stitched handles and it overrides the stronger ordinances in 14 Rhode Island communities.

Sample dialogue 2 – Please amend H5671 to upgrade the definition of reusable bags to include “stitched handles” and to remove the fee on paper bags. These changes will make it identical to local ordinances and position the Ocean State as a leader for tackling plastics and improving ocean health.

Any questions about the call to action, please contact our office at 401-236-2561.

Thank you!

Dave McLaughlin

Executive Director

Clean Ocean Access