Plastic Bag Ban in Brookline

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Brookline Town Meeting passed a bylaw banning non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags in November, 2012. The Green Caucus led this effort through members Clint Richmond and Andrew Fischer. This warrant article became Article 8.33 of the Town's bylaws.

Summary of the bylaw:

  • applies to retail establishments that are "2,500 square feet or larger or at least three (3) locations under the same name within the Town of Brookline that total 2,500 square feet or more; or (b) a retail pharmacy with at least two locations under the same ownership within the Town of Brookline; or (c) a full-line, self-service supermarket that had annual gross sales in excess of $1,000,000 during the previous tax year".
  • Reusable bags are allowed if they are "(1) made of cloth or other machine washable fabric; or (2) made of durable plastic that is at least 2.25 mils thick; or (3) made of other durable material."
  • Biodegradable bags are allowed if they meet ASTM D6400 and D7081 standards.

This bylaw was based on a proposed state law. The bylaw went into effect on Dec. 1, 2013. During the same Town Meeting, the Town banned polystyrene food containers (Article 8.32) led by Green Caucus member Nancy Heller.

Resources:

Brookline Town Bylaws - full text of all Town Bylaws

Photos of plastic bags - Includes litter on land and marine environments. Some of these were shown during testimony about our bylaw.