Plastic Bag Ban



Top Reasons Why Shrewsbury Should Ban Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic check-out bags are convenient and cheap. However, the environmental expense of plastic bags far exceeds the cost retailers are currently paying to provide them. There is no need for this. Simple alternatives such as reusable shopping bags and paper bags are available and already used in many stores throughout Massachusetts.

About 300 billion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. 300 billion. It’s an astounding number. And almost 90% of those plastic bags are used for sacking groceries. Plastic bags not only reduce air quality when burned, but they’re also extremely detrimental to soil structure and to farming because of their non-biodegradable nature. However, there’s one very helpful solution to this environmentally devastating problem. Consumers choosing to use reusable tote bags.  Why? Because tote bags help in the reduction of worldwide plastic bag use.

Plastic bags are contributing to serious issues facing the Commonwealth, the United States, and the world. Tackling these issues will require the culmination of many small actions to bring about large change. Banning single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags is an important and easily implemented step towards meaningful change.  Americans use approximately 100 billion plastic bags every year (made from the estimated equivalent of 439 million gallons of oil), and according to the EPA, only 5.2 percent are estimated to be recycled.  Governments around the world have taken action to ban or restrict the use of plastic bags. In 2008, China banned the use of ultra-thin plastic bags, and it is estimated to have eliminated 40 billion bags in the first year.  Why wouldn’t we want to eliminate all of that waste as well?

Plastic bags are made from unsustainable materials that harm wildlife and our environment.  The damage to marine life by plastic bags is extremely well-documented and The New England Aquarium is among the leading marine research institutions calling for bans on plastic bags.  It litters our parks. It clogs our drains. It ends up in the ocean and then it ends up in us.  I’m just going to repeat that the plastic ends up in us!  Remember, we all live downstream!

Bans on lightweight non-biodegradable checkout plastic bag have been put in place all over the world:  in major cities such as Seattle, Austin, Mexico City, and Paris; California, Hawai’I.  This list is proof that plastic bags bans can be implemented successfully. The solution is to bring reusable plastic or cloth bags, or to use paper bags. Paper bags are easily reused and recycled, and biodegrade naturally.

For a lot more reasons, check out these lists from great resources:



SIERRA CLUB – Pulling Back the Curtain: American Progressive Bag Alliance


MASS GREEN NETWORK – An Open Letter in Support of the Bag Bill Over 160 Environmental and Community Groups (including Sustainable Shrewsbury) Support H.4234, An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution



Shrewsbury – ban effective July 2017
Grafton – ban effective 2018
Westborough – ban effective September 2018
Northborough – ban effective January 2020
Hopkinton – ban effective January 2019 (Board of Health)
Upton – ban effective effective June 30, 2020
Worcester – ban effective April 2020 (City Council)
Framingham – ban effective January 2018
Berlin – ban effective January 2020
Ashland – ban effective July 2018
Hudson – ban effective June 2020


Ban the Bag 01545 (Missy Hollenback & Jason Molina)

Annual Town Meeting (May 2017)

  • Citizens Petition to DELETE a Plastic Bag Reduction By-law (DEFEATED 61-136 / 31%-69%).  Defeating this petition was good because it kept the Plastic Bag Ban.

Annual Town Meeting (May 2016)



11/20/19 – Mass. Senate votes in favor of ban on plastic bags

11/20/19 – MA Senate Passes Bill to Curb Proliferation of Plastic Bags

10/10/19 – Hudson proposes plastic bag ban

09/17/19 – Worcester City Council OKs ban on plastic bags at checkout

07/28/19 – [Worcester] As I See It: Plastic bags are harmful

07/23/19 – Worcester’s proposed ban on single-use plastic bags gains traction

05/12/19 – Auburn voters to choose selectman, consider restrictons on plastic bags

05/10/19 – Berlin bans bags, but not marijuana

04/25/19 – Northborough Annual Town Meeting passes ban on plastic bags and polystyrene

04/04/19 – [Sustainable Northborough] Group forms to push for plastic bag ban and reduction in Styrofoam use

04/04/19 – [Algonquin High School] Plastic bags: The cost, destination, ban

12/12/18 – The push to ban plastic bags advances in Worcester

12/09/18 – Worcester drafts plastic bag ban

11/14/18 – Boston’s plastic bag ban begins next month. Here’s what you need to know

09/17/18 – Paper or paper? Westboro’s ban on retailers bagging customers purchases in plastic bags goes into effect

09/12/18 – [Auburn] Selectmen vote to send plastic bag ban to voters

07/22/18 – Ashland plastic bag restriction to start this week

04/24/18 – Hopkinton board raises tobacco age, bans plastic bags

03/19/18 – Proposal to ban plastic bags meets resistance in Auburn

03/18/18 – Westboro town meeting OKs plastic bag ban

02/28/18 – [Auburn] Proposed plastic bag ban on Board of Selectemen agenda

“[Selectman Tristan] LaLiberte hopes Auburn joins Grafton and Shewsbury as Central Mass communities that have implemented a ban. “

12/20/17 – Framingham plastic bag ban begins Jan. 1, 2018

06/22/17 – Inside the strategies of a Massachusetts bag ban architect

05/17/17 – Shrewsbury town meeting keeps ban on plastic bags, keeps synthetic turf project on track

05/11/17 – Shrewsbury has second thoughts about limiting plastic bags

03/23/17 – Grafton to vote on plastic bag ban

05/17/16 – Shrewsbury approves ban on nondegradable plastic bags


Young Voices for the Planet – Team Marine

Runtime: 5m | Release date: 2016
High school students are concerned about the effects of plastic bags on the life in the ocean and on CO2 emissions. They dress up as plastic bag monsters and act to successfully ban plastic bags in their city of Santa Monica.

The Magestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary

Runtime: 4m | Release date: 2010
Narrated by Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons, this “mockumentary” video, hammers home the stark reality of California’s plastic bag pollution situation.


Bag it! (trailer)

Runtime: 1h 14m | Release date: 2010
An average guy makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely. He comes to the conclusion that our consumptive use of plastic has finally caught up to us, and looks at what we can do about it. Today. Right now.



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