Policy Update

Vermont Enacts Most Comprehensive Single-use Plastic Ban in the Nation



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In June, Vermont signed into law the nation’s most comprehensive ban on single-use plastics. Across the nation, states have introduced and passed bag bans, straw bans, and polystyrene food service ware bans. In 2019, at least 34 states considered 200+ pieces of legislation to reduce single-use plastics. However, Vermont S. 113, sponsored by Senator Chris Bray, bans all three single-use items in a single policy and is the first bill of its kind to be signed into law. 

Effective July 1, 2020, S. 113 will:

  • Ban single-use plastic carryout bags from stores and food service establishments and apply a fee of 10 cents to recyclable single-use bags;
  • Require that food service establishments do not provide single-use plastic straws unless requested by customers;
  • Ban single-use plastic stirrers;
  • Ban the use of single-use expanded polystyrene food service ware.

In 2019, 14 states, such as New Jersey (S 2776) and Connecticut (HB 5245), introduced comprehensive bans, demonstrating that states are taking bold action on plastic pollution. Vermont’s ban, coupled with extended producer responsibility bills such as California’s AB 1080 that address plastics at their source, indicate that states will continue to lead the charge on preventing plastic pollution in the environment.