Plastic bag ban in Milton in place Sept. 14

Milton's Plastic Bag Ban takes effect on Sept. 14. The town's ordinance was designed to limit the use of single-use plastic checkout bags to protect streets and public spaces from litter and reduce the environmental impact.

A Q and A primer about the ban:

Q. When was the ordinance passed?

A. The plastic bag ban was passed at Town Meeting on Oct. 23, 2018. It takes effect on Sept. 14 because the bylaw required approval from the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Q. What kind of bags are banned?

A. The Town's bylaw prohibits the distribution of thin-film, single use plastic check-out bags of a thickness under 2.5 mils. One mil is one thousandth of an inch. Note that the bylaw specifically regulates bags distributed at check-out, or the point of sale.

Q. What kinds of businesses are affected?

A. Retail establishments in Milton are subject to the bylaw. Retail establishments include, but are not limited to: retail stores; restaurants; pharmacies; convenience and grocery stores; liquor stores; and seasonal and temporary businesses.

Q. Are there exemptions to this bylaw?

A. Yes. The bylaw does not apply to thin-film plastic bags without handles that are used to contain dry cleaning clothing items, newspapers, produce, meat, fish, bulk foods, wet items, or pet waste.

Q. What does the bylaw mean for patrons of affected businesses?

A. Each business can choose whether to offer check-out bags and what material the bags may be made of. The Town does not require vendors to charge a fee for bags, nor does the Town prohibit vendors from charging a bag fee.

Under this ordinance, reusable check-out bags are still permissible. A reusable bag is defined as a bag with handles that is specifically designed for multiple reuse and that is either made of natural fibers or made of durable, non-toxic plastic (not polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride) that is at least 2.5 mils thick.

Questions may be directed to Code Enforcement Officer Birch Aymer at 617-898-4839 or baymer@townofmilton.org .

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