The Boston City Council is set to consider a proposal banning single-use plastic bags and instituting a 5-cent fee.
During Wednesday’s meeting of the 13-member body, a vote on the proposal is expected to occur. City Council President Michelle Wu backs the proposal.
The proposed ordinance, which would affect pharmacies, restaurants and convenience stores across the city, aims to reduce street litter and says plastic bags “contribute to a significant burden on the City’s solid waste disposal and single-stream recycling systems.”
What the proposal would do:
- The retail store providing the check-out bag can charge 5 cents for the bag, and the store will keep the money it collects.
- Any retail establishment providing a check-out bag – a carry-out bag with handles — to customers must ensure the bag is a reusable bag or a compostable plastic bag, or a recyclable paper bag.
- A second offense and all subsequent offenses would come with a $100 fine.
- Enforcement of the ban falls to the Boston mayor’s office of energy, environment, and open space. The first time of a violation of the ban would draw a warning, and a second violation within one year would lead to a $50 fine.
- Retail establishments can ask the office of energy, environment and open space for an “undue hardship” exemption.
The lead sponsor, City Councilor Matt O’Malley, represents West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, as well as parts of Roslindale and Roxbury.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has said he is open to considering the plastic bag ban.
Cambridge and Somerville are on the list of nearby communities that have restricted the use of plastic bags in recent years.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles are among those US cities that have banned plastic bags.