Vermont’s House of Representatives voted 120-24 strongly in favor of a ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene cups, plates and other food service products. It would also prohibit restaurants from automatically putting a plastic straw in every beverage, instead making them available upon request.
In addition to mounting waste, litter and threats to the environment, legislators also expressed concern over single-use plastics eventually breaking down into micro-plastics, which are tiny plastic 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 House and Senate must still iron out some differences in their respective versions of the bill before moving it on to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The ban would take effect in July 2020.
Vermont would become the second state to ban expanded polystyrene food service products such as cups, plates and containers.
Maine’s governor signed a polystyrene ban into law just last week, and a similar statewide ban is poised to become law in Maryland. More than 200 cities and counties around the country have also banned or restricted the use of expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers.