plastic bag ban coalition
source: Kathy Raiz and Rob Fernandez – 5/3/23

This holiday season, as you are shopping locally for gifts and groceries, don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bag. Shopping locally is a powerful way to support your community while minimizing your environmental impact. One simple yet impactful habit that aligns perfectly with shopping locally is remembering to carry a reusable shopping bag. They are sturdy, versatile, and sustainable. And, starting in January, large retailers in Needham will no longer be providing plastic bags at checkout.

Needham is saying good-bye to plastic bags that choke trash bins, litter streets and parks, and pollute the environment. Earlier this year, Green Needham’s Plastics Reduction Team worked with town officials to propose a bylaw banning plastic bags, which passed during the May 2023 Town Meeting. The ban, which will go into effect at the start of the year, includes thicker plastic bags that are meant to be reused but rarely are. 

The bylaw affects retail stores, grocery stores, drugstores, restaurants, liquor stores, convenience stores, food trucks, and other vendors. It will initially go into effect in stores over 3,500 sq ft (e.g., Roche Bros, Sudbury Farms, CVS) on January 1 and in smaller venues on July 1. Stores may offer paper bags, but officials encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, which are more durable and friendlier to the environment.

In banning plastic bags, Needham is in the company of more than 130 countries and 10 U.S. states that ban or regulate plastic bag use. In Massachusetts, nearly 160 cities and towns have some form of plastic bag ban. These efforts are designed to remove millions of tons of plastic waste from the environment. In addition to using fossil fuels, plastic bags cause harm by entangling wildlife, clogging storm drains, burdening waste disposal facilities, and releasing toxic microplastics into drinking water.

The new ban on plastic bags is designed to protect Needham’s unique natural beauty. It will also reduce the environmental burden that plastic waste places on the town’s land and waterways. While the change may cause some short-term inconvenience, switching to reusable bags—which are inexpensive and readily available—can make an impact that will last for generations.

The Plastics Reduction team plans to expand our efforts to reduce single-use plastics in town, and we are always looking for volunteers. Visit our site to learn more!

 Submitted by Green Needham Plastics Reduction Team
An Early New Year’s Resolution – Remember Your Reusable Shopping Bags!
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