Something You CAN Do About Plastic – Call Your Rep!

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A message from Mass Green Network to 

Massachusetts legislator have only two more days to co-sponsor the statewide bag bill.

Please consider calling your Representative right now asking them to sign on as a co-sponsor of an Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (HD.134). To find your Representative, click here.

Four years ago there were only seven municipalities in the State with a local bag laws. Today there are over 90, including Boston, Cambridge, Lowell, Framingham, and Burlington. More than 1 in 3 Massachusetts residents lives in a city or town with a bag law. And more are coming: Worcester, Springfield, and Pittsfield are among the cities working on ordinances right now. The people of Massachusetts will value legislative leadership on this issue.

It is good for business.

The current patchwork of local regulation creates great difficulties for major retailers, and needless anxiety for small business owners. They will be well served by a uniform statewide law. Reducing bag use will also result in substantial savings. With no bag laws, retailers in Massachusetts would spend over $145.7 million per year on plastic bags alone, and even more on paper bags.

Would reduce municipal expenditure.

Each month, Massachusetts produces between 100 and 125 tons of bag waste. Plastic bags get caught in our single-stream recycling machinery, causing delay and damage, and contaminating materials that might be recovered. Studies have concluded that the annual costs to cities and towns to subsidize litter management and debris reduction amounts to as much as $10.71 per resident. And this does not account for the indirect costs – the loss to tourism and to the fishing industry. Reducing bags will be a boon for taxpayers.

A fee for paper bags will help business owners and the poor, not harm them.

Paper bags are much more expensive than plastic bags. Without a fee, laws typically reduce bag waste by 60 to 80%. With a modest fee, bag laws reduce both plastic and paper by more than 90%. This reduces the overhead for businesses. The savings get passed on to consumers. The cost of disposable bags for a family of five is about $100 per year. In contrast, ten reusable supermarket tote bags costs $10, and they last a long time indeed. Remember, bags are not free – their costs are just hidden. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley agrees: bag laws protect our most vulnerable populations.

A statewide bag law will help reduce global warming.

The production, distribution, and disposal of shopping bags used in Massachusetts produces over 97,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. The debris from plastic bags in our oceans disrupt the natural processes that generate oxygen and regulate the climate. Bag laws have more subtle effects too. They encourage consumers to be more thoughtful about their choices. A statewide bag law is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective way to involve ordinary citizens in the solution to the most urgent environmental crisis of our time.

Don’t delay — call today!

-Brad Verter
Founder, Mass Green Network

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