Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will decide the fate of a bill passed by the Boston City Council that could impact plastic bag use by supermarkets, convenience and retail stores.
Last week, the council passed an ordinance seeking to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags used at retail. The ordinance will apply to carryout bags used at stores but will not affect dry cleaner bags, newspaper bags or produce bags used in a supermarket.
According to the Massachussetts Food Association (MFA), the ordinance, if passed, will allow for plastic bags 3mm or thicker and paper bags with handles to be available for a fee of no less than 5 cents, which is to be kept by the retailer. Retailers will only be allowed to give out compostable plastic bags and paper bags without handles for free to customers who do not have reusable bags.
The penalty for a store that violates the ordinance after a first warning is $50; $100 for second and subsequent offenses.
The purpose of the bill, sponsored by Boston City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Michelle Wu, is to reduce the use of disposable checkout bags to curb litter and protect the environment.
Once the bill is presented to the mayor, he has 15 days to sign it, or the bill becomes law without his signature. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect one year from the date it becomes law.
According to an MFA newsletter, the association is continuing to work with the mayor’s office in an attempt to “reach a more feasible solution that is better for the environment and more manageable for retail establishments.”