Support a plastic bag ban in Boston now!

Summary of March 27, 2017, fourth working session on the ban from Council President Wu, quoted from her Council Meeting Notes dated March 29:

Plastic Bag Ban: Councilor O’Malley reported back on Monday’s working session regarding the ordinance he and I filed to reduce plastic bag waste in Boston. We had a robust conversation with many Councilors, advocates, and representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Environment, Energy and Open Space. We watched a video made by the Dorchester Girl Scouts showcasing how many of the flimsy, single-use plastic bags end up tearing and littered on our streets or in our trees. The ordinance would require retail establishments to offer plastic bags of at least 3 mils in thickness (think bookstore bags) that are more reusable and charge a 5-cent fee on these thicker plastic bags, recyclable paper bags, and compostable bags. That fee would go back to the retail establishment to cover the increased cost of thicker bags. The goal of the ordinance is to encourage residents to use reusable bags when shopping and reduce plastic. The matter remains in the Government Operations Committee for further action.

This is a petition written by Dorchester Girl Scouts and friends; if you live in, work in, or visit Boston, we encourage you to sign it:
https://www.change.org/p/mayor-marty-walsh-boston-s-kids-call-on-mayor-walsh-to-support-the-boston-bag-ban-now

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After a robust public process in 2016, City Councilors O’Malley and Wu continue steps in 2017 to pass a proposed ordinance to ban plastic bags in Boston. We need your help to make this ban a reality so that Boston joins the more than 40 cities and towns in Massachusetts who have already achieved this goal. Read on to find out how you can help support this important measure.

From City Council President Wu’s Council Meeting Notes, Jan. 11, 2017:

Plastic Bag Ban: Councilor O’Malley and I refiled an ordinance to ban flimsy plastic bags from retail establishments in Boston. Many of the flimsy, single-use plastic bags end up tearing and littered on our streets or in our trees. The recycling company Casella has noted that thin plastic bags get twisted around their machinery and are not in condition to be recyclable after being mixed in with food products or other waste, so they spend hours every week untangling plastic bags from the gears. The ordinance would require retail establishments to offer plastic bags of at least 3 mils in thickness (think bookstore bags) that are more reusable and charge a 5-cent fee on these thicker plastic bags, recyclable paper bags, and compostable bags. That fee would go back to the retail establishment to cover the increased cost of thicker bags. I want to note that any conversation about increasing costs for families is difficult when so many are struggling to make ends meet in our city – the goal of the ordinance is to encourage residents to use reusable bags when shopping and reduce plastic bag waste in a way that is fair for small businesses and not prohibitive for residents. The urgency of climate change as a social and economic threat to our future grows more visible every day, and we need to take every step we can to move toward a greener economy. The matter was sent to the Government Operations Committee for a hearing.

Take a quick survey on banning plastic bags in Boston: votemattomalley.com/cleanboston

Plastic bags harm our environment, take 12 million barrels of petroleum a year to produce (just for those used in the U.S.), contribute significantly to litter in our streets, and wreak havoc with Boston’s single-stream recycling equipment when residents try to recycle plastic bags in our big blue bins.

After a public process including three working group meetings (meeting minutes available here), a citywide survey, and an open hearing at City Hall in 2016, City Councilors O’Malley and Wu continue steps in 2017 to pass a proposed ordinance to ban plastic bags in Boston. In the coming weeks there will be a vote by the City Council on whether to adopt it.  Please call or e-mail your district city councilor and the four at-large city councilors and tell them you are in favor of the ban and ask them to vote yes on the ordinance. E-mail links for the individual councilors are here; or you can e-mail them all here. Please also call (617-635-4500) or e-mail Mayor Walsh and tell him that you support the plastic bag ban. More than 40 other towns in Massachusetts already have taken this step; it is time for Boston to do the same!

To read the minutes of the meetings, view Powerpoints from the working meetings, or submit your thoughts, go to: votemattomalley.com/cleanboston.

Photo: Sierra Club

Photo: Sierra Club

 

 

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