Gov. Phil Scott quietly signed into law Monday a statewide ban in Vermont on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene cups and plates.
The new law, which will go into effect next July, also prohibits restaurants from automatically putting a plastic straw in every beverage. Now customers must ask for a straw.
Vermont is the second state to ban expanded polystyrene food service products. More than 200 cities and counties around the country have also banned or restricted the use of plastic straws and containers
In addition to litter and threats to the environment, the plastics eventually break down into tiny bits that have been found in Lake Champlain, in tap water worldwide and in 90 percent of bottled water.
Microplastics have also been found in fish, shellfish and other wildlife.
The new law will also require the Agency of Natural Resources to study the progress of municipal plastic bag bans.