Should Boston Ban Bags? | NECN
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Should Boston Ban Bags?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A bill in Boston would require a five-cent fee on any plastic bags from stores in the city. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016)

    The Boston City Council is considering a move that would require a $0.05 fee on all plastic bags withing the city limits.

    Every time you check out, you would have to fork over a nickel per bag.

    "What if I have to go shopping and I have five bags?" said Cheryl Harris from Mattapan. "That's 25 cents, right? That's 25 cents that could go to my food shopping."

    The reasoning for the baggage fee is to help clean up the city and push people to start using reusable bags, like Elizabeth Miller does.

    "I pretty much use it as much as I can," said Miller, who lives in Roslindale. "I have them in my car and I always carry one in my purse."

    The city would never receive any of the money. The fees would be kept only by the businesses.

    If the a business doesn't follow through and charge for the bag, they'll face a fine after their first offense.

    Other cities and towns have full-on bans of single-use plastic bags, including Cambridge, Newton and Somerville.

    "I have a summer place in Falmouth." said Anne Schmalz from Bedford. "They have a bag ban and everyone makes do very well with bringing their own bags, and it's cleared up the roadsides somewhat."

    Councilman Matt O'Malley sponsors the bill and said it will help Boston get a better grip on pollution.

    "It's going to get rid of that scourge of litter that we see in every block in the city while at the same time not harming small businesses and not being particularly onerous for the costumer," said O'Malley, who represents District 6.

    The bill now goes to committee, where if it passes through, it moves to the council floor for a vote.

    If approved, the ordinance has to be placed in place in less than a year.

    The American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents plastic bag manufacturers and recyclers in the U.S., issued a statement opposing the ban.

    "We welcome efforts in Boston to reduce waste and litter, but urge the city to take a comprehensive look at this issue so it can make real progress on its sustainability goals. Banning or taxing 100-percent recyclable, highly reused plastic retail bags – which make up just 0.3 percent of the nation's U.S. municipal solid waste and 1.2 percent of litter in the Northeast – won't create any meaningful environmental benefits in Boston, but it will create a number of unintended negative consequences," said Chairman Mark Daniels. "We urge the council to reject the proposed ordinance and welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively on recycling solutions that have already been successful in Massachusetts and across the country."

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