Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Joined Staff at Stop & Shop on Manton Avenue to Kick-Off the Plastic Bag Reduction Act

Providence City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, (Ward 5) joined Assistant Store Manager Frank Carnevale and members of his staff this morning at the Stop & Shop located at 850 Manton Avenue to give out free reusable bags. In addition to giving out the reusable bags, Majority Leader Ryan even helped bag groceries. Stop and Shop is giving out 300 free reusable bags at each of their Providence locations today to the first 300 customers.

“I was very happy with the reception we received from customers regarding the change from single-use plastic bags to reusable or free paper bags,” stated City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “As the lead sponsor of this initiative I have worked for over two years with my community partners Clean Water Action, Conservation Law Foundation, Zero Waste Providence, and the City’s Office of Sustainability to craft a plan that is designed to minimize the impact on customers and retailers, and maximize the effectiveness of the law by saving money, protecting our environment, and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. This effort could not have happened without their support. I want to thank them, and Stop & Shop for helping ensure that those who need a reusable bag have a chance to get one tomorrow!”

Stop & Shop began preparing for the change from plastic to paper earlier this month. They are offering free paper bags, and their Stop & Shop reusable bags are being sold at 2 for $1, and they also have a variety of novelty bags – like ones celebrating the New England Patriots for $1.99. They have various other options at other price points as well.

”We share our customers’ concern over the environmental impact of plastics waste, so we are proud to be a part of this change in Providence,” said Jennifer Brogan, Director of Community Relations for Stop & Shop. “We also want to make the transition easier for our customers by giving away reusable bags, which is the most sustainable choice for the planet.”

The Providence Plastic Bag Reduction Act, modeled on similar laws and best practices enacted in Boston and other municipalities and states across the country, will:

  • Significantly reduce the use of plastic bags in Providence.
  • Exempt certain dry cleaning and laundry bags, as well as those used to wrap or contain frozen foods.
  • Allow businesses to be able to use its supply of plastic bags.
  • Require the City’s Office of Sustainability to conduct a comprehensive public education outreach initiative to ensure that residents and businesses are properly informed. And requires regular reporting to the City Council on Program effectiveness.

Majority Leader Ryan continued, “We use over 95 million plastic bags annually in just our city alone. That’s a very real problem, not simply for the litter these bags create in our neighborhoods, but because these bags come with a very real cost. There’s the nearly $1 million the city spends yearly in rejected recycling loads largely due to the presence of plastic bags in our recycling barrels. Additionally, these bags often end up in Narragansett Bay and other area waterways, where they break into smaller pieces called microplastics. Those microplastics pose a deadly threat to sea life, and Clean Water Action has found that they are now a serious source of contamination in the Bay. That’s why passing this legislation was so important, not just for Providence, but for the State.”

Providence joins the following Rhode Island municipalities in banning or reducing plastic bags in their communities: Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Narragansett, New Shoreham, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, and next month East Providence will come online, followed by Cranston on July 1, 2020.

For community members who need a reusable bag, or have reusable bags they would like to donate, they can do so at any of the Providence Community Library Locations.

For more information on Stop & Shop, visit them on the web at stopandshop.com

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