Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

David Bidwell


One of the greatest threats to the natural environment is marine debris pollution. Single-use plastics, one of many contributors to marine debris, are causing the greatest harm, affecting the well-being of humans and animals. In an effort to mitigate plastic pollution, environmental policies are implemented to reduce the availability of single-use plastic products to the consumer. This research looks explicitly at single-use plastic bag policies to see if implemented plastic bag bans promote pro-environmental behaviors and broader support for plastic bag policies. This study sampled two communities in Rhode Island, one with a single-use plastic bag ban, Middletown, and one without a single-use plastic bag ban, Warwick, performing face-to-face surveys with 50 individuals in each community (N = 100). The findings do not show support of a behavioral spillover effect; however, people living in the town with the implemented plastic bag ban used reusable bags more frequently than individuals in Warwick and showed greater support for a statewide plastic bag policy. In addition, age, gender, and environmental worldview (NEP) were predictors for some pro-environmental behaviors. In all, plastic bag polices could have broader implications for supporting similar and different environmental policies moving forward.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.