7,300 sign petition to ban plastic bags in RI

More than 7,300 people have signed a petition urging lawmakers in Rhode Island to ban plastic checkout bags.

The group Environment Rhode Island submitted the petition this week, along with a letter supporting a ban signed by 130 businesses.

The petition and letter support legislation introduced by state Rep. Maria Cimini that would prohibit retailers from handling out the ubiquitous plastic bags. Stores could still provide paper bags, but would be required to charge 10 cents per bag.

Last year Barrington became the first town in Rhode Island to ban plastic bags, joining cities like San Francisco, Westport, Conn., Seattle and Los Angeles. The bags are also prohibited throughout Hawaii.

Environmental groups say bags are a major pollutant in Narragansett Bay and local waterways.