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Reusable Bags Get Edge Over Paper in Survey on Plastic Bag Ban

Barrington Town Council presented with raw results of a consumer survey on the plastic bag ban at its meeting Monday evening, Dec. 2.

Plastic grocery bags now banned in Barrington. Credit: W.Rupp
Plastic grocery bags now banned in Barrington. Credit: W.Rupp

Reusable bags appear to be the bag of choice in place of plastic grocery bags in Barrington.

And most people in Barrington favor the two-year ban on the grocery bags that started in January.

And most people shop in Barrington about the same as they did before the ban. 

These were three of the results of a consumer survey on the plastic bag ban completed by four Roger Williams University students under the direction of political science professor Joseph Roberts, a member of the Conservation Commission, which proposed the ban.

The results were presented to the Town Council on Monday evening, Dec. 2. They will now be analyzed by the Conservation Commission in January with a report on the overall results expected to be presented at the February meeting of the Town Council. 

The students said that 358 of the lengthy online surveys were completed out of 450 surveys started.

Reusable bags were always selected or selected most of the time by 211 respondents to replace plastic grocery bags for grocery items, according to the survey.  Paper bags were selected always or most of the time by 151 people. 

Fifty-six (56) percent of people support the bag ban; 38 percent do not; 6 percent did not know, according to the survey.

Fifty-nine (59) percent of people – 214 -- shop about the same as they did in Barrington before the ban was imposed by the Town Council. Another 12 percent shop significantly more or somewhat more, according to the survey.

Twenty-eight (28) percent of people shop somewhat less or significantly less than before the ban. 

Among the other results:

  • 64 percent do not favor a fee be charged for paper checkout bags.
  • 50 percent favor a statewide ban on plastic bags; 41 percent do not favor such a ban.
  • Most shoppers always or most of the time used plastic or reusable bags before the ban; paper bags were least chosen.
  • 54 percent of people do not bring their own bags when shopping for groceries; 46 percent do. 
Lorraine F December 03, 2013 at 07:52 AM
The survey says - "Twenty-eight (28) percent of people shop somewhat less or significantly less than before the ban." I'm not sure about this, but isn't a 28% "shop less" number kind of a bomb shell for Barrington's business community? If RI is considering a statewide ban on plastic, they might want to check that part out first.

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