Massachusetts Bill Would Limit Disposable Carryout Bags

Photo by John Stephen Dwyer. Published under the Creative Commons License.
Photo by John Stephen Dwyer. Published under the Creative Commons License.

A bill that would restrict the type of bag handed out by retailers has been filed in the State of Massachusetts. State Rep. Frank I. Smizik. filed Bill H01159 on January 20th of this year.

The bill would effectively eliminate the current disposable plastic bag in use at retailers across the state. The bill would also eliminate the current disposable paper bag.

Bill H01159 simply states: If a store provides disposable carryout bags to customers, the bags must only be compostable plastic bags. Read the statement very carefully - it says "disposable carryout bags". Nothing says that the store can't make available "reusable" bags for sale to customers.

It is interesting that the bill would require "compostable" plastic bags. The state of Massuchusetts is a huge proponent of composting; but I couldn't find any specifics about composting plastic bags.

The website of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection provides extensive guidance on composting and composting facilities. The guides also explain in detail how humans can help the composting process.

However, nowhere did I find any information or details about composting plastic bags. Within the guide on composting leaf and yard waste, there were specific explanations about containers used to transport the compostable material to the composting facility.

Details were available about the use of plastic bags and paper bags. There was also this statement: "Biodegradable" plastic bags have not yet demonstrated their claims of being truly biodegradable, and leave small pieces of plastic in the compost, which requires screening of the finished material."(1)

Thus begets the question: If Bill H01159 becomes law, is the state prepared for a huge influx of compostable plastic bags?

Source: (1) Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website.

2 Responses to "Massachusetts Bill Would Limit Disposable Carryout Bags"

  1. Karen Civitarese   2012/02/16 at 1:30 pm

    I would love to see Massachusetts ban all plastic bags, Paper bags should stay. It would force more people to bring their own reusable bags with them. I keep 8 in my car at all times. If you cannot or will not ban them at least start charging for them. It will make people think and I do wish more people would get involved with what happens on this earth. Lets keep it clean. It is here for our future generations.

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