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Massachusetts Plastic Bag Ban Push Is On

A grocery cart filled with multiple plastic shopping bags.
Creative Commons
A grocery cart filled with multiple plastic shopping bags.

Environmental protection and recycling advocates aligned with a "zero waste" coalition are gearing up for a Beacon Hill hearing next week on statewide single-use plastic bag ban legislation. 

"I'm going to level with you — I love all of New England," Kirstie Pecci, senior fellow at the Conservation Law Foundation, wrote in a regional update email Tuesday. "I am busting my butt every day to move towards Zero Waste through the whole region. However, I live in Massachusetts. IF OTHER STATES IN NEW ENGLAND PASS A BAG BAN BEFORE MASSACHUSETTS, I AM GOING TO BE VERY DISPLEASED."

Many cities and towns in Massachusetts have adopted such bans at the local level, and environmental advocates say it's time for a statewide ban.

Pecci urged people to turn out for the Tuesday, April 2 public hearing before the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and to support a bill (H 771) sponsored by Rep. Lori Ehrlich and Sen. Jamie Eldridge that includes a 10-cent fee on single use plastic bags.

The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Room A-2.

Referring to "anti-plastic warriors" aligned with the movement, Pecci described efforts in New England states to ban straws and plastic bags, as well as Styrofoam, to expand bottle redemption laws to cover more beverages, and to shift recycling costs from taxpayers to waste producers and consumers. She said non-recyclables are contaminating recyclables, and that most states in the region are "getting hammered by recycling costs."

The Environment Committee is co-chaired by Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli.

This report was originally published by State House News Service.

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