The Town of East Greenwich has reinstated the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags at retail stores, effective Monday, April 19, Town Manager Andy Nota announced at the Town Council meeting Monday night.
The town’s plastic bag ban had only been in effect for a few months when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Town Manager Andy Nota suspended the ban in March 2020 over concerns that the virus could spread easily on surfaces, making reusable bags potentially hazardous. In those initial months of the pandemic, most stores did not allow shoppers to use reusable bags for that reason.
But, as Council President (and doctor) Mark Schwager noted Monday, much has been learned about COVID-19 transmission, including “the limited role of surface contamination.”
Nota said he’d consulted with other municipal leaders and most were taking the same course of action.
The ordinance was initially passed in September 2019 to “improve the environment … and the health, safety, and welfare of … residents by reducing the number of plastic and paper bags being used and by encouraging reusable carryout bags.”
Many plastic bags are allowed under the ordinance, including smaller bags used at grocery stores for produce or at hardware stores for small items. Also exempt: plastic bags over flowers or potted plants and dry cleaning bags.
So, come Monday (4/19), no more plastic bags at checkout!