Providence City Council Passes Plastic Bag Restrictions

Mar 16, 2018

The Providence City Council has passed an ordinance discouraging shoppers from single-use paper or plastic bags. 

Starting next year, retailers in the city will be required to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for paper or more durable plastic bags to encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. 

"During this next phase before the ordinance goes into effect, we’ll work to ensure that all residents are prepared, and those that need reusable bags will have the opportunity to get them at little or no cost," Jo-Ann Ryan, city council majority whip and proposer of the ordinance, said in an emailed statement.

Ryan added in the statement that the initiative will help remove 95 million plastic bags from the state's landfill each year. 

Single-use bags cannot be recycled curbside in Rhode Island, and when too many plastic bags contaminate a recycling load, Providence is charged for it. 

Ryan said in the statement the ordinance will save the city at least $1 million each year. 

The ordinance exempts plastic bags used for laundry, dry cleaning and frozen foods from the fee. 

Several other municipalities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Barrington, Newport, Middletown and Boston, have passed similar ordinances.