Our Goal

The Plastics Reduction Team is working to reduce single-use plastic consumption and waste in Needham.

Why is reducing single use plastic so important?

  • Single-Use Plastic Waste

    Plastic is toxic: Plastics are made from toxic, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and fossil fuels.  Most are made from a by-product of gas, called ethane, which is produced during the hydrofracking process.

  • Plastic pollutes: Hydrofracking causes air and water pollution.  When plastic breaks down it creates microplastics, which contaminate soil, water and air.
  • Plastic negatively affects climate change: If plastic were a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter.
  • Plastic has harmful effects on health: Micro and nano-plastics have been found in the human brain, blood, lungs, heart and gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to respiratory issues, gastrointestinal issues, reproductive issues, and increased cancer risk.
  • Plastic is largely not recyclable: Because of the different chemicals used to make plastics, only 5-6% of plastics are recycled.  The rest ends up in landfills, incinerators or in the environment.

Current Initiatives

  • In a decisive vote of approval for Green Needham’s Citizens’ Petition, Town Meeting adopted the ban on polystyrene (Styrofoam) containers, plastic stirrers and plastic splash guards. In addition, plastic straws may be given to consumers only upon request.  Restaurants and food establishments will no longer be able to automatically include straws in beverages or with take-out orders. These bans will take place starting January 1, 2025, and will go a long way to decreasing single-use plastic waste in Needham.
  • Creating a “Needham On Tap” map, which will allow residents and visitors to easily locate water fountains and bottle fill stations around town, making it simple to refill a reusable water bottle on those hot summer days or during a sporting event.
  • Supporting Senator Becca Rausch, in her efforts to pass state-wide legislation to reduce plastic waste:  “Act to Reduce Plastics (S.2833)”
  • Expanded Ban on Single-use Plastics

    Expanded Ban on Single-use Plastics

    Submitted a Citizen's Petition for inclusion on the May 2024 Town Meeting Warrant to ban specific single-use plastic items.
  • Plastic Bag Ban ByLaw in Needham

    Plastic Bag Ban ByLaw in Needham

    With overwhelming support at Town Meeting on May 3, 2023, Needham passed the Plastic Bag Ban Citizens' Petition Article, and joined the over 150 towns and cities in Massachusetts that have passed similar plastic bag bans. The ban will go into effect January 1, 2024, for large stores, and July 1, 2024 for smaller stores.
  • The Problem with Plastic Bags

    The Problem with Plastic Bags

    Single-use plastic shopping bags are everywhere, with an estimated one to five trillion consumed around the world every year.  They harm wildlife, pollutes our land and waterways, and cause problems at recycling facilities.
  • Education/Outreach


    We are working on an educational outreach campaign to encourage Needham store patrons to shop with their reusable bags. From elementary schools to local community groups, we are educating people about the benefits of choosing reusable bags over plastic or paper.

Our History

Read about what we’ve accomplished so far.

  • Prepare the town for the upcoming plastic bag ban by encouraging Needham shoppers to bring reusable bags to the store.

If you are interested in learning how you  can help, please consider joining our team!  Fill out the below form and someone on our Team will contact you.


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