Plastics | New Hampshire Public Radio

Plastics

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Reusable shopping bags will be allowed again at New Hampshire grocery stores, after Gov. Chris Sununu lifted the state’s COVID-19 ban on reusable bags Monday.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts recently announced that it was ending its pandemic moratorium on reusable shopping bags, saying towns could go back to reinforcing their bans on single-use plastic bags. 

Meanwhile, New Hampshire and many other states are still not letting shoppers bring their reusable bags to stores. But is that actually helping to slow the spread of coronavirus?


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers advanced bills today, over Republican objections, to limit the use of plastic straws and Styrofoam containers.

One bill would ban Styrofoam containers at food service businesses statewide, except in the case of some grocery products.

Keng Susumpow via Flickr CC

State lawmakers will try again to pass restrictions on single-use plastic items in the coming legislative session.

The House last year approved a bill saying plastic straws should only be given out on request. But state Senators of both parties agreed to block the measure.

They argued it wasn’t needed -- that public opinion in the state was already turning against excessive plastic use.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Portsmouth became the latest U.S. city to ban the use of some disposable plastic containers after the City Council voted Monday night to outlaw Styrofoam city-wide.

Supporters of the new law say they believe it’s the first of its kind in New Hampshire.

The ordinance will take effect at the end of next year. It’ll ban most Portsmouth businesses – except some nonprofits – from distributing single-use Styrofoam.

It’ll also ban the distribution of single-use plastic straws and containers, but only on city property.

Screenshot via City of Portsmouth

Portsmouth's city council voted Monday night to begin considering a local ban on some single-use plastic products. It targets Styrofoam and it also affects city-sponsored events in terms of restricting single-use plastics like straws and plastic bags.

TABER ANDREW BALN VIA FLICKR CC

The state Senate Wednesday rejected two bills aimed at restricting single-use plastics in New Hampshire.

The Senate killed one proposal to require food service businesses to not to give out plastic straws except on request.

The bill had passed the House, and dozens of people supported it at a Senate hearing last month.

Should N.H. Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags?

May 2, 2019
TABER ANDREW BALN VIA FLICKR CC

Several states, and roughly three hundred U.S. cities and towns, have banned single-use plastic bags.  Now, several states in New England, including New Hampshire, are considering similar bans.  These efforts come amid rising concern about the huge amounts of plastic polluting our oceans and health research warning of tiny, microplastics present in our food. Recently, a bill to ban the bags passed the New Hampshire House and has moved on to the state Senate.  

GUESTS:

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Dozens of people came to Concord Tuesday to support a proposal banning the use of most plastic straws and shopping bags. The two bills heard in the state Senate Commerce Committee have already passed the House of Representatives.

One would require businesses – except health care facilities – to only provide plastic straws on request.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Businesses in Portsmouth have mixed reviews for a proposed ban on single-use plastics in the city.

It's the fourth year Portsmouth has been considering introducing such a policy, aimed at reducing plastic pollution and litter. A handful of communities are considering similar bans.

New Hampshire lawmakers will consider a number of restrictions on single-use plastics this session.

Rep. Judith Spang, Democrat of Durham, says she's introducing bills to ban plastic bags and plastic straws statewide.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Citizen scientists have begun another year of sifting through sand on Seacoast beaches, in search of tiny bits of plastic known as microplastics.

It's the fifth year for the volunteer-driven New Hampshire Sea Grant project.

Blue Ocean Society executive director Jen Kennedy says scientists want to collect, sort and analyze the different types of microplastics that wash ashore on the Seacoast.

The Future of Recycling with Outside/In

Apr 18, 2018
Kristian Bjornard; Flickr

Many towns across New Hampshire have adopted single-stream recycling... toss everything together, and it will be sorted out down the line. But a recent episode of NHPR's Outside/In found that this method of collection is becoming less sustainable and less profitable. We look at how this is impacting the Granite State.

Listen to the full episode of Outside/In: "One Bin To Rule Them All."

Courtesy Goodwill NNE

Goodwill Industries of Northern New England says it took in a record number of donations in 2017 and is on track to do the same this year.

The non-profit says one factor behind the increase in donations is the region’s aging population. As baby boomers downsize, it seems a trip to the Goodwill is often in order.

Last year alone, Goodwill NNE says it diverted 60 million pounds of stuff from the waste stream.

Spokesperson Heather Steeves says even if those items aren’t sold in stores, they have lots of ways of keeping them out of a landfill.

N.H. Beaches Face Threat from Microplastics

Apr 16, 2018

New Hampshire beaches may look generally clean, but there's a big threat posed by tiny microplastics. Microplastics are defined as plastics between 1-5mm in size. They may be fragments of degraded larger plastic debris, synthetic fibers, or microbeads from cosmetics and toothpaste. We learn about research studying the prevalence of this microscopic debris on New Hampshire beaches, the threat it poses to marine ecosystems, and what we can do about it. 

Keng Susumpow via Flickr CC

The Portsmouth City Council has voted to postpone debate on a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags in the city. The decision means the ban won’t be voted on anytime soon.

The 6 – 3 vote on Monday night came after concerns were raised about whether the city has the legal authority to enact a ban on plastic bags.

Portsmouth’s City Attorney is advising City Councilors not to pursue a ban on single-use plastic bags. It's the latest in what has been a persistent legal question about whether municipalities have the authority to enact such a ban.

The Portsmouth City Council is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags – like the kind you get at the supermarket or drug store.

But despite seeking clarification from the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Services, the City of Portsmouth isn’t entirely sure it has the power to regulate plastic bags.

Hannah Clark/BioCycle

New research from the University of New Hampshire says taxes or bans on plastic bags are the most effective ways to manage their impact on the environment.

The research looked at the ways 13 different states and cities around the country have attempted to manage the use of plastic bags – from bans, to taxes, to recycling programs.

Taber Andrew Baln via Flickr CC

The Portsmouth City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags. Portsmouth City Councilor Brad Lown is sponsoring the ordinance, on behalf of the New Hampshire Surf rider Foundation's ‘Rise Above Plastics’ campaign. The ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags in the city, and allow stores to pass on a 10-cent per bag fee for using paper bags. 

Tell us why you feel a ban on plastic bags is needed in Portsmouth.