Hundreds of millions of plastic bags

Rhode Islanders use hundreds of millions of disposable plastic bags every year—most of which we use only once, for the few minutes it takes us to get home from the store. Even when they make their way to landfills, these bags often end up getting carried by the wind into Narragansett Bay and our parks, beaches and rivers.

Marine environment in danger

Too many plastic bags end up as litter in Narragansett Bay and off our coast, and it's creating an ecological disaster:

  • Turtles, whales and other marine animals that pass through Rhode Island waters often mistake plastic bags for food, which can cause them to starve or choke to death. They can also get entangled in bags and drown or die of suffocation.
  • Adult seabirds inadvertently feed small pieces of plastic to their chicks, often causing them to die when their stomachs become filled with plastic.
  • As plastic bags break down into smaller fragments, fish and quahogs are vulnerable to the toxic pollutants they carry. Fish and clams are vital to the marine food chain and Rhode Island's economy.

Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute the Bay for hundreds of years

Because they do not biodegrade, plastic from bags remains in our waters for hundreds of years, perhaps longer. Nothing we use for just five minutes should pollute Narragansett Bay for hundreds of years, spoiling its waters with trash and endangering the wildlife we treasure and depend on.

It’s time for Rhode Island to ban plastic bags

Luckily, the solution is simple: lawmakers can make Rhode Island an environmental leader by banning these plastic bags. 

We helped ban plastic bags locally in Barrington, and with a statewide bill being considered by state lawmakers, this is the chance for Rhode Island to be the first to ban plastic bags at the state level.

Join our campaign today to ban plastic bags: Send your state representative a message. 

Issue updates

News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Environment Rhode Island Endorses Candidates for 2014 Elections

Environment Rhode Island, a statewide environmental organization, announced today the endorsement of three candidates for federal office in the 2014 elections.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Rhode Island waterways receive top rank with least toxic dumping of any state

Rhode Island ranks best nationwide with the least amount of toxic industrial pollution dumped into the state’s waterways, according to a new report by Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center. Industrial facilities dumped just over 600 pounds of toxic chemicals into Rhode Island’s waterways in 2012, compared to nearly 18 million pounds in the worst-ranking state, Indiana. The report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in Rhode Island and across the nation.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Wasting Our Waterways

Rhode Island ranks best nationwide with the least amount of toxic industrial pollution dumped into the state’s waterways, according to a new report by Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center. Industrial facilities dumped just over 600 pounds of toxic chemicals into Rhode Island’s waterways in 2012, compared to nearly 18 million pounds in the worst-ranking state, Indiana. The report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in Rhode Island and across the nation.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Barrington makes plastic bag ban permanent

Barrington's town council voted to remove the original sunset clause in the town's Reusable Bag Ordinance. The ordinance, which went into effect in January 2013, banned Barrington retailers from distributing single-use plastic checkout bags at the point of sale; a sunset provision ending the ban after two years was initially included to give the policy a trial period before making it permanent. By striking the sunset date, the council's reaffirmation of Barrington's ordinance comes as state lawmakers consider proposed legislation to ban plastic bags statewide in Rhode Island.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Jamestown and Charlestown councils voice support for statewide plastic bag ban

On May 19, the Town Council of Jamestown voted to approve a letter from the Jamestown Conservation Commission to state lawmakers in support of the proposed legislation to ban disposable plastic checkout bags statewide in Rhode Island (H7178/S2314). The news comes one week after Charlestown's Town Council passed a resolution supporting the legislation as well.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed