In Montpelier on Election Day 2018, citizens voted overwhelmingly in favor of Article 4, marking the first major step in the fight against plastic pollution in Vermont’s capital city. The measure was an official charter change that would grant the City Council of Montpelier an additional power to regulate the distribution of single-use plastic products such as plastic bags and straws. This is a movement that is gaining momentum across the United States, with cities from Brattleboro to San Francisco saying ‘no’ to land- and water-polluting plastic bags.
This achievement has the potential to make Montpelier a leader in environmental health, acting as an example for advocates and elected officials to point to when considering similar policies statewide. Winning over 75% of the votes cast, the Montpelier Charter Change must be granted final approval by the State Legislature and will be taken up in the 2019 legislation session.
We at VPIRG are in full support of this measure and will advocate on its behalf in the legislature come January. But we know the fight to end plastic pollution doesn’t end there – it’s going to take innovative and bold actions just like this one to fully address the widespread problem of plastic pollution. Not only do single-use plastic products cause massive pollution of our land and water resources, but their production, manufacturing and distribution are all based upon a crippling dependence on fossil fuels, one that we know the majority of Vermonters don’t stand for.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of this measure and others as we take on plastics statewide.