After months of public meetings and discussion, the proposed plastic bag ordinance and implementation plan will go in front of Newport City Council on Wednesday, February 22nd.

Update: At the February 22nd Newport City Council meeting, the resolution was continued to the March 8th meeting for a vote, because the ordiance had to be voted on before the resolution could be. After hearing from eight members of the public, four six-grade students and a member of Barrington Town Council; Newport City Council voted 7-0 to approve the first reading of this ordinance. The ordinance will see its second reading at the March 8th meeting.

While the plastic bag ban could go into effect as soon as March 8th, enforcement of the plastic bag ban will not go into full effect until November 1, 2017.

A single use plastic carryout bag is defined in the resolution and ordinance as “a single use plastic bag used by the customer at the point of sale for the purpose of removing products purchased from a business establishment. Single-use plastic carryout bags does not include plastic barrier bags, double-opening plastic bags, or plastic bags measuring larger than 28 inches by 36 inches.”.

Resolution

A resolution titled, “Adopting the Plastic Bag ordinance and implementation plan” has been submitted by Councilors Ceglie, Taylor, Bova and Florez and will be reviewed by all seven members of the council.

Passage by City Council will adopt the Plastic Bag ordinance and the Implementation Plan thereby phasing out the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags.

On May 25, 2016, the City Council passed a resolution directing the Planning Board in conjunction with the Energy and Environment Commission to write an ordinance phasing out the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags.

The Planning Board and the Energy and Environment Commission then held public workshops and solicited public input.

The Planning Board approved a Plastic Bag Ordinance and a subcommittee drafted an implementation plan.

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Ordinance 

An ordinance, “Amending Title 8 of the Codified Ordinances, entitled, “Health and Safety” to add section 8.32, which will ban the use of single-use plastic bags”, will see its first reading also on Wednesday evening.

“Prohibiting the use of single-use plastic carryout bags is necessary to protect the environment and the public health, safety and welfare of all residents and visitors.” the ordinance states under legislative findings and intent.

The purpose of this ordinance is to improve the overall environment in the City of Newport for the health, safety, and welfare of its residents and for the protection of our wildlife and coastal ecosystems by:

  1. Encouraging the use of reusable carryout bags and banning the use of single-use plastic carryout bags
  2. Maintaining the ability to recycle single-use plastic carryout bags
  3. Reducing the number of single-use plastic carryout bags. Business establishments are encouraged to make reusable carryout bags available for sale.

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The ordinance shall take effect upon passage, but the enforcement of violations in regards to the plastic bag ban would not go into effect until November 1, 2017.

There is an implementation plan that has a goal to gradually reduce the distribution and use of plastic bags through voluntary choice decisions by the public and retailers by the enforcement date of the ordinance (November 1, 2017), resulting in the total elimination of the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Ordinance Enforcement; Violations and Penalties

According to the proposed ordinance, upon violation of the ordinance, the Business Establishment shall be provided written notice ordering cessation of the violation. Notice shall be given to the Business Establishment owner or manager or may be served on the Business Establishment’s agent for service.

Following the written notice, a violation shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

For any violation of the provisions of this ordinance, the City Council may revoke any municipality issued license granted to the Business Establishment.


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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.