Pandemic highlights differences between states on plastic-bag bans

Local News

In less than two weeks, Vermont will move ahead with its ban on single-use plastic bags. The ban, which Gov. Phil Scott signed into law last year, takes effect on July 1.

Unlike in some other states, the pandemic does not appear to be affecting implementation of the law. Vermont Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore recently said she believes reusable bags are no more of a safety risk than other surfaces that customers and retail workers might touch.

However, Massachusetts and Maine have postponed their own upcoming bans out of fear that reusable bags may help spread the coronavirus.

New Hampshire has not banned single-use plastic bags. A bill that would have outlawed them passed the state House of Representatives earlier this year but failed in the Senate. In fact, in late March, Gov. Chris Sununu issued an emergency order to ban reusable bags for the duration of the pandemic, which means stores continue to stock single-use bags.

Meanwhile, New York banned single-use bags in early March, shortly before the pandemic took hold, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation says it won’t be enforced for the time being.

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