January 3, 2018

Plastic Bag Ban in Framingham

Welcome to 2018 in Framingham, there are some new changes around here...

Now a City

Framingham is American's newest City. Most residents won't see much of a change during the transformation.

No more Plastic Bags!

At the 2016 Town Meeting, residents voted in favor of Article 42 - Amend General Bylaws: Article VIII Section 8 - Plastic Bag Reduction Bylaw.

According to the Article, the intent of the new Bylaw:

The production and use of thin film single-use plastic checkout bags have significant impacts on the environment, including, but not limited to: contributing to the potential death of marine animals through ingestion and entanglement; contributing to pollution of the land environment; creating a burden to solid waste collection and recycling facilities; clogging storm drainage systems; and requiring the use of millions of barrels of crude oil nationally for their manufacture. The purpose of this bylaw is to eliminate the usage of thin-film-single-use plastic bags by all retail and grocery stores in the Town of Framingham, on or after January 1, 2017.

How will this be enforced?

According to the Article:

Enforcement of this bylaw shall be the responsibility of the Town Manager (now Mayor) or his/her designee. The Town Manager shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other town duties as appropriate.Any retail or grocery store distributing plastic grocery bags in violation of this bylaw shall be subject to a non-criminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulations for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under LM.G. Chapter 40,2S1D -Any such fines shall be paid to the Town of Framingham.

Plastic Bags

Framingham Not Alone on the Ban

Plastic Bag Regulations have been approved in 61 Cities and Towns in Massachusetts. The following city and towns in Massachusetts have now ban the use of plastic bags in retail stores:

  • Barnstable
  • Brookline
  • Cambridge (includes a fee per bag)
  • Concord
  • Falmouth
  • Great Barrington
  • Greenfield (proposed)
  • Hamilton
  • Harwich
  • Manchester
  • Marblehead
  • Nantucket (1S25 3- on biodegradable packaging)
  • Newburyport
  • Newton
  • Natick - August 2017
  • Northampton
  • Pittsfield - In Progress
  • Provincetown
  • Somerville - August, 2016
  • Truro
  • Wellfleet
  • Williamstown

State Law Proposed

There is a Bill in the Massachusetts legislature that will make any single-use bags against the law - not just plastic bags. If the bill passes, the law would go into effect on August 1, 2018.

The Bill S.424 simply states:

Except as provided in this section on and after August 1, 2018, a store shall not provide a single-use carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale.

The Bill is currently in a Joint Senate/House hearing. However, pass bills never made it Pass the Joint hearing and pretty much dies in committee.

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