2017-05-11 / News

Town considers plastic bag ban

On the same night Middletown passed an ordinance banning plastic grocery bags, two Jamestown women asked their town councilors to consider the same measure.

According to a letter dated April 25 by Susan Maffei Plowden and Kate Petrie, nearly 12,000 plastic bags have been collected since 2013 by volunteers with Clean Ocean Access, an environmental watchdog based in Middletown. That accounts for more than 6 percent of the litter that the group found along the shoreline.

Plowden addressed the councilors during their May 3 meeting. “The negative impact of single-use plastic bags is real,” she said. “Despite our best efforts, many plastic bags are carelessly discarded into trees, storm drains, along the shoreline and in the bay.”

Plowden said the council should follow the lead of Middletown, Newport, Barrington and 45 other towns in Massachusetts.

“Jamestown enjoys a great reputation as a pristine and unspoiled place to live,” she said. “It won’t stay that way without our efforts.”

Council President Kristine Trocki said the chamber of commerce proposed a similar ordinance a few years ago, but businesses objected to the idea because of costs.

“It became an issue and we put it on hold,” she said.

Trocki advised Plowden to reach out to chamber members, business owners and environmentalists while the council considers putting the item on an upcoming agenda.

“The more inclusive we can make it, the process will go much smoother,” Trocki said.

Plowden’s goal is to have a ban implemented by Earth Day 2018.

“What was an inconvenience several years ago, bringing your own bag to a store, is quickly becoming the norm in many towns and cities worldwide,” she said.

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