Tim Jones

Boston City Councilors Unanimously Approve Plastic Bag Ban

Boston city councilors unanimously voted to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in the city Wednesday afternoon. 

Councilor Matt O’Malley made the proposal, which bans flimsy plastic bags. Under the new proposal, customers will be charged 5 cents for plastic bags that are thicker and could be reused, or bring their own reusable bags. 

Typical paper bags without handles are free under the ban and business will keep all proceeds. 

The council had been weighing a citywide plastic bag ban for more than a year. All 11 councilors voted in favor of the ban.

"There's no doubt that even a penny or five cents is going to be impactful," O'Malley told NBC Boston in 2016. "I'm not doubting that. One thing this ordinance seeks to do is really encourage businesses to offer a five-cent rebate if someone brings a reusable bag. We cannot mandate that in the ordinance. We can encourage."

Matt O'Malley also 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.

Opponents to the ban say the fee is a new tax for shoppers and creates a business burden.

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

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