The Vermont Legislature is considering passing a very important bill, S.113, the most comprehensive environmental bill on plastic pollution in the nation. The S.113, if passed, will ban plastic straws, plastic bags and polystyrene (styrofoam) altogether.

The Vermont House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on April 25 in the State House. My teacher at Bennington College, Judith Enck, and classmate, Louis Celt, testified for the plastic ban that day. Not only was the importance of tackling this global issue emphasized, but also the effectiveness of the design of this bill. S.113 not only bans plastic bags but puts a fee on paper as well, to encourage a shift to eco-friendly reusable bags.

It was made clear single-use styrofoam packaging, which contains styrene, a probable human carcinogen, is impossible to recycle, as proven by deliberations around the New York City polystyrene ban, not yet in effect in New York City.

“We cannot recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis,” Judith Enck, a former EPA official, often mentions in our class. Only 9% of plastics out of the 300 million tons produced annually is being recycled. Our health and the ecosystem cannot tolerate anymore plastics. This bill has already passed unanimously in the state Senate. Please contact your House members and the governor, the Green Mountain State needs to pass S.113.

Srichchha Pradhan

student, Bennington College

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Heather Juliussen-Stevenson

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