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Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico to ban plastic bags through executive order

Puerto Rico's governor signed an executive order Friday banning the use of plastic bags across the U.S. territory, defying legislators who just days ago rejected a similar bill.

The ban will take effect in mid-2016 and will be preceded by a six-month educational campaign, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said.

The announcement surprised many because 25 legislators in the island's House of Representatives recently voted against a measure calling for such a ban. Lawmakers had said they opposed the bill because it would charge people for the use of plastic bags amid an economic crisis.

Garcia said grocery stores across Puerto Rico import tons of plastic bags a year,...