RI State Senate tables five environmental bills for further study

The bills are each aimed at reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill, or worse, ends up as litter.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A slew of environmental bills were tabled for further study in the Rhode Island Senate Wednesday.  Each one is aimed at reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill, or worse, as litter, with a heavy focus on plastic waste.  Senator Dawn Euer is the Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture.

Euer says, “There’s been a lot of education efforts around the harms of single-use plastics, and that they really do have a devastating impact on our environment and our health.”

One bill would eliminate sales tax on reusable shopping bags.  Meanwhile, another two have passed the Senate before, but not the House.  One of those would prohibit food service establishments from giving out straws unless specifically requested by the customer.  The other would eliminate availability of single-use plastic bags statewide.

Euer says, “Half of the state of Rhode Island is already covered by municipal bag bans, and so this would basically take that work that’s been done on a municipal level and apply it throughout the state.”

Also among the bills is one that would prohibit the intentional release of balloons, and one that would require schools to recycle and compost waste, while donating unused, unspoiled food.

Euer says, “Basically, addressing hunger needs as well as addressing the waste issue that comes from food.”

The bills were heard in virtual session Wednesday, and Senator Euer hopes the bills will make their way toward a vote soon.

Euer says, “Rhode Island is known for its environmental beauty, and so we need to make sure that we have strong environmental laws to continue to protect those assets that we all love and cherish.”

Senator Euer says while the bills received overwhelming support during their session last night, the committee did also receive a large amount of written testimony, so they’re going to take time to review that before moving forward.

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Categories: News, Rhode Island