BOSTON: Boston is close to banning plastic bags after a unanimous City Council vote Wednesday. Several Rhode Island municipalities have also banned the bags, but some advocates make the case for a statewide ban.The City Council unanimously approved the ordinance Wednesday, green-lighting a measure that aims to encourage shoppers to use environmentally friendly alternatives such as reusable bags, or pay a 5-cent fee for a thicker, compostable plastic bag. Shoppers would also be given the option of paying a 5-cent fee for larger, paper bags with handles.Plastic bags cannot be recycled curbside in Rhode Island, despite the recycle symbol printed on them. Johnathan Berard, state director of the advocacy group Clean Water Action, said too many plastic bags are ending up in recycling loads anyway.Berard said that’s a problem because the loads cannot be processed when too many plastic bags are mixed in. “All of the good recyclable material that’s in the back of that truck now goes and gets put in with all of the rest of the municipal solid waste, and so you’ve got really good, valuable recyclable material that’s ending up in the landfill instead of being processed and sold,” Berard said. Currently, Jamestown, Middletown, Newport and Barrington have passed restrictions on plastic bags.