Support from businesses and residents for Barrington plastic bag ban presented at Town Hall

Media Contacts
Channing Jones

John Rumpler

Clean Water Director and Senior Attorney, Environment America

Environment Rhode Island

Barrington, R.I. — On Friday morning, public comments in support of a ban on plastic checkout bags in Barrington were delivered to Barrington’s Town Hall: a letter signed by fourteen Barrington businesses endorsing the town’s proposed plastic bag ban, in addition to three hundred and forty postcard petitions signed by Barrington residents. Town Council President June Speakman and Town Manager Peter DeAngelis received the comments, delivered by the citizen-based advocacy group Environment Rhode Island.

“The public voice in Barrington is clear,” said Channing Jones, associate with Environment Rhode Island. “Both businesses and residents in Barrington understand that, to protect the Bay for ourselves and future generations, we need to stop using disposable plastic grocery bags.”

On Monday, the Barrington Town Council will consider drafting an ordinance to ban plastic checkout bags in the town. If the ordinance proceeds successfully through the legislative process, Barrington could be the second municipality in New England and the first in Rhode Island to enact such a ban.

The letter from local businesses reads: “Everyone in Rhode Island wants a more beautiful state and a healthier Narragansett Bay, and we are writing to express our support for a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags here in Barrington.”

Plastic bags are one of the most commonly found types of marine debris in Rhode Island coastal cleanups. When plastic bags enter the marine environment, they pose a direct threat to wildlife and threaten to remain there for hundreds of years or more. Although plastic never biodegrades, as plastic in the water slowly photodegrades into increasingly small fragments, it picks up toxic pollutants, posing a threat to filter feeders such as clams.

“Nothing we use for just five minutes should fill our waterways with trash and threaten the wildlife we treasure and depend on” the letter adds. “Barrington and Rhode Island can be a leaders for the environment and Narragansett Bay by getting rid of plastic bags.”

Over three hundred postcard petitions from Barrington residents were delivered along with the letter from local businesses. The petitions were fashioned into shapes of reusable bags.

“Both businesses and residents in Barrington understand,” said Jones. “To protect the Bay for ourselves and future generations, we need to stop using disposable plastic shopping bags.”