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Wellesley Town Meeting passed a bylaw restricting plastic bags back in 2016 — now 121 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed plastic bag regulations! We need a state law that will help reduce plastic pollution even more and create consistent regulations for retailers across the state.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich and State Senator Jamie Eldridge have proposed a strong bill (H.771/S.462) but lobbyists are trying to weaken it by removing a fee for paper bags, barring cities and towns from passing stronger bans in the future, and allowing many stores to continue to pass out plastic bags. All these changes would damage our efforts to reduce plastic waste and we can’t let that happen. The ocean is filling with plastic every day!

Sustainable Wellesley is joining the Conservation Law Foundation in asking you to contact Wellesley legislators:

  • Rep. Alice Peisch: Please thank Rep. Peisch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

  • State Sen. Cynthia Creem: Please ask Sen. Creem to support H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

  • State Sen. Becca Rausch (representing Wellesley precincts B,F,G): Please thank Sen. Rausch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

Here are some talking points:

  • Wellesley Town Meeting strongly approved the town bag bylaw and the bylaw has been successfully implemented for the past several years.

  • Plastic bags are consistently among the top six most common items found in cleanups. They’re dangerous to wildlife and can break down into micro plastics that end up in our drinking water, threatening our own health.

  • Plastic bags contaminate our recycling and jam up machinery, increasing costs to towns.

  • More than 100 Massachusetts cities and towns, from Pittsfield to Boston, have already passed bag bans and this bill would help reduce plastic pollution throughout our state.

  • A $0.10 fee on paper bags would encourage people to switch to reusable bags, which are the best option for the environment. Towns are prohibited from levying a fee on paper bags so a state law is the only way for that to happen.

Thanks for taking action to reduce plastic waste!

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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

Phyllis Theermann

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Wellesley Friendly Aid Association cordially invites you to attend The Ninth Annual Networking Forum. This year the event is titled “Wellesley’s Green Wave: How Sustainability Is Transforming Our Town” and takes place on Tuesday, September 20th. Enjoy coffee and networking at 10:00 am, before the speaker portion begins at 11:00 am.

The program will include an overview of Wellesley’s Green Collaborative by Ellen Korpi, Chair of Town of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee, with presentations from Collaborative participants including:

  • The Sustainable Energy Committee on a new WasteWise Wellesley campaign;

  • The Natural Resources Commission on the plastic bag ban and ongoing environmental initiatives;

  • Sustainable Wellesley on gas leaks

Lunch to follow for those who pre register by Wednesday, September 14. RSVP to wellesleyfriendlyaid@verizon.net or 781-235-3960

The event takes place at Henderson Hall, Wellesley Community Center at 219 Washington St.