Plastic Shopping Bag Ban Begins December 14th

What You Should Know

Shoppers get ready. As of December 14th, the City of Boston will add itself to the list of nearly 60 other cities and towns across Massachusetts that prohibit large businesses  from passing out single use plastic bags less than 3 millimeters thick. This law was introduced by Jamaica Plain Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley and unanimously passed last year by the Boston City Council body and signed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. So the question being asked as the date of the ban approaches is ‘What does this mean for shoppers?’

What it looks like it will mean is that people can of course bring their own bags no matter what they are made of. But in many towns that already have such a ban have done, they can carry their purchases home in paper bags provided by these businesses. There could be a charge estimated at around 5 cents per bag and many businesses will have stronger, sturdier reusable bags for sale, as well.

The reaction to the coming ban is being cheered by some yet opposed by others. The stated reason for the ban and supported by those in favor is to reduce litter and provide environmentally friendly options, protect the marine environment and water ways and reduce green house gas emissions, and solid waste and promote the use of reusable bags by retail establishments located in the city according to Boston city environmental officials.  Those opposed to the bag ban give as their reasons worries about paper bags unable to support heavy or damp items like gallons of milk, most packages of raw meat which could potentially contaminate other groceries and other bulky items; this according to the publication called ‘The Patch’.

Others simply oppose it on principle, stating they feel government continues to put too many restrictions on citizens. But support the ban or not, it is scheduled to take effect on schedule on the 14th of December and businesses who fail to comply or don’t follow proper procedure will be subject to fines ranging from $50 for the first offense and $100 for every violation after that and that could be just the beginning.

So prepare yourselves shoppers.  If you’ve been saving loads of those thin plastic bags to use as trash can liners in your home, you now have another use for them. Or you may want to show up to ‘Stop and Shop’ and Star Market/Shaws to impress with your own special customized canvas bags designed with personal messages or art work for each holiday. However you choose to prepare, shopping will be a bit different from here on in at least for the foreseeable future.