Lead Sponsor: Senator Jamie Eldridge
Summary: This bill will reduce the number of plastic bags used in Massachusetts each year by prohibiting the use of plastic carryout bags in many stores, requiring them to use compostable bags, reusable cloth bags and/or paper bags. This legislation would only apply to large stores defined as those with greater than 4,000 square feet.
Why This Matters: The widespread use of plastic bags has serious consequences for the environment, such as littering our coastlines, using up billions of gallons of petroleum a year, leaching toxic chemicals into our soil and water, and killing millions of animals each year.
What This Bill Would Do: The bill would reduce plastic bag waste in the commonwealth by prohibiting large retail establishments (defined as greater than 4,000 square feet) from providing plastic carryout bags at point of checkout. These establishments will still able to provide compostable bags, reusable cloth bags, or paper bags. If passed, the bill’s requirements would take effect on April 25, 2015. Failure to comply with these regulations will be punished through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ power to enforce civil administrative penalties under section 16 of chapter 21A of the Massachusetts General Laws.
You can view the full text of the bill and track its history here.