Boston City Council unanimously votes to pass plastic bag ban ordinance

Watch the video of the Ordinance Vote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKteF5vwZho&feature=youtu.be&t=1199

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Boston City Council voted unanimously to pass the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance. Here is Council President Michelle Wu’s summary:

Plastic Bag Ban: We voted unanimously to approve the ordinance sponsored by Councilor O’Malley and me to reduce plastic bag waste in Boston (Councilor Jackson was not at the meeting and therefore couldn’t vote, but he did send in a letter of support that was read into the record). This legislation would ban single-use plastic checkout bags; retail establishments in the City would be required to offer only recyclable, reusable, or compostable bags at checkout with a minimum 5-cent fee that would incentivize customers to bring their own reusable bags. Plastic bags are created using petroleum, increasing our dependence on fossil fuels. As Councilor O’Malley noted in his remarks, approximately 370 million single-use plastic bags will be used in Boston this year alone, most for a matter of seconds before ending up as litter in countless parks, streets, and neighborhoods. Taxpayers are already paying for these bags, from cleanup costs and the price of our recycling contractor removing 20 tons of plastic bags each month from their equipment all of which are paid for with taxpayer dollars, to the long-term costs of climate change and degradation that we are paying and our children will pay for years to come. The measure now goes to Mayor Walsh for his signature or veto.

 

 

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

_______________________________________

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

 

 

Share