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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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On Tuesday, June 5, members of Wellesley Town Meeting will vote on whether to approve $1 million to fund a feasibility study for the reconstruction of Hunnewell Elementary School.

There are many excellent reasons why the reconstruction of this school will help to maintain a high standard of educational services for our children. We believe it also makes sense from an environmental perspective.

This project presents an extraordinary opportunity for Wellesley to take another leap forward in becoming a model for sustainability as we build a school for the decades to come. Technological advances have now made it possible to build a high performing, sustainable building within the same budget as a conventional building. A school building also happens to be a particularly appropriate application for net-zero energy design (defined as a building that uses no more energy than it generates).

Net-zero energy schools have proven to

– Save thousands of dollars in energy costs every year

– Create valuable learning opportunities for students as the features of the building can be used for research projects

– Enhance the sense of common purpose as the whole school community works toward reducing energy use

– Provide a healthy and appealing work environment for students and teachers.

For the past year, the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee (comprised of members appointed by the Selectmen, and representatives of the School Committee and the Municipal Light Plant board) has been working with the School Building Committee on this project. Together, they have incorporated into the scope of the proposed feasibility study an evaluation of the most sustainable options for the Hunnewell site. We are confident that these options will be presented to the School Building Committee and that the priorities for educational services, fiscal responsibility, and sustainability will be in full alignment.

We know that there are still issues to be resolved concerning Upham and Hardy. In the meantime, it is clear that Hunnewell is an antiquated building in poor condition that must be re-envisioned as a school for the future — both from an educational perspective and from an environmental one.

Please contact your Town Meeting Members and urge them to vote for favorable action on Article 3 this week.

Scott Bender, Mary Gard, Lise Olney, Quentin Prideaux, Phyllis Theermann, Sustainable Wellesley Leadership Team