Way to Go, Beantown! Boston is Launching a Plastic Bag Ban
In an effort to protect its streets, trees, gutters and the environment as a whole from non-biodegradable waste, Boston is launching a single-use plastic bag ban. The city-wide plastic bag ban will begin December 14, 2018, and it will be rolled out in stages. Large establishments in Boston (think big box stores) of 20,000 feet or more will affected first, and in April, stores of 10,000 feet or more will join the ban. In place of single-use plastic bags, customers will be given reusable shopping bags, bags of recycled paper or compostable bags that customers can purchase. Customers are also welcome to bring their own bags from home whenever they shop.
While the initial plastic bag ban will no doubt be a huge adjustment for shoppers in Boston, there are some exceptions: Plastic bags will still be available in the produce aisle and at the dry cleaners; dog waste bags have also not been eliminated. However, if you’re looking to take home leftovers from a restaurant, plan on bringing your own or carrying out the restaurant’s paper or reusable bag; restaurants are not exempt from Boston’s plastic bag ban.
And what happens to customers who forget their reusable bags at home? Thicker, compostable bags will be available for purchase (approximately five cents per bag), the cost of which will help businesses offset the expense of offering these pricier bags.
As for business owners who cannot comply with the ban due to financial hardship, a temporary exemption is available provided such hardship can be proven. In addition, businesses are not required to provide bags at all for their customers, and can therefore opt out of doing so.
For shoppers throughout Boston, the changes the plastic bag ban brings will no doubt take some getting used to. But with cleaner gutters, streets, trees, waterways and green spaces, Bostonians may just wonder why the ban didn’t go into effect sooner. As the city leads the charge against single-use plastic bans, other towns and cities throughout Massachusetts may just follow suit—and that would no doubt be a significant win for the environment.
See which other cities are tackling the single-use plastic problem, and how they’re going about it.