‘We’ll embrace the change and we’ll figure it out’: Rhode Island small businesses readying for statewide plastic bag ban

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WLNE) — A 13-1 vote by the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday moved the Plastic Waste Reduction Act to a floor vote next week. 

The bill would ban single-use plastic bags in retail establishments across Rhode Island. Newport, Providence, Narragansett, and more have already approved similar policies locally. 

The transition is already affecting small businesses like Nana’s Candy Bar in Narragansett, who is now transitioning to paper bags. 

“It’s going to be expensive… very expensive,” said Diane Mann, owner of Nana’s Candy Bar. “I can’t even think about it because we’ve had so many supply issues this season with trying to just get inventory. I mean bottom line is it’s just going to have a negative impact on our bottom line.” 

The shop is well known for their plastic bag peach pales that allow customers to choose their candy and bring a souvenir to the beach, just steps away. With new legislation passing, this staple would be a thing of the past. 

“It won’t be as fun as this or as easy as this, but I get it. I understand that we have to head down that path,” Mann explained. 

Mann insisted that she is in favor of the bill, regardless of the financial implications. 

She concluded, “I fully support it. We were anticipating it a few years ago when COVID hit. I support saving the environment. We’ll embrace the change, and we’ll figure it out.” 

The floor vote will take place next week, and the ban will go into effect no later than Jan. 1, 2024. 

Categories: News, Rhode Island