Senate Approves Bill to Deal With Single-Use Plastic Pollution

The Senate has given final approval on a 30-0 vote to S.113 – legislation to address the problem of plastic pollution in Vermont. The Senate had previously given initial approval to the bill on a 27-3 vote.

Though this is just the first step toward stopping the problem, if passed into law, S.113 would be the most comprehensive action taken by any state to date.

This bill takes on the trifecta of plastic pollution: bags, straws and expanded polystyrene. Specifically, if enacted, S.113 would:

  • Ban single-use plastic carryout bags from Vermont stores or food establishments. Single-use paper bags could still be provided at a cost of five cents per bag.
  • Make plastic straws available only upon the request of customers in Vermont establishments. Individuals who need or want a straw would still be able to get one, but the use and
    disposal of most single-use straws would be avoided.
  • Prevent anyone from selling expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service products or sell food or beverages in those same products. Already, more than 200 cities and counties around the country have banned or otherwise restricted the use of EPS food and beverage containers, including 16 towns in Maine, 30 towns in Massachusetts, New
    York City, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and San Francisco.

These are the kind of plastic items that have a useful life of just minutes, but can last in the environment for 500 years or more.

Plastic pollution is choking our oceans and waterways, fouling our environment, killing wildlife and threatening human health as well. Tiny bits of plastic can now commonly be found in the water we drink and the food we eat.

The public is demanding action on plastics and it’s great to see that our legislators are listening.

In the fight between plastics and the planet, you can score one small round for the planet thanks to Vermont’s action today.

For more information see on S.113 see the joint letter VPIRG sent with several other environmental organizations and Vermont businesses in support of this legislation: