HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2249        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 787


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Denise Provost


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to plastic bag reduction.






Date Added:

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex


Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk


Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex


Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex


Kay Khan

11th Middlesex


Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex


Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex


Brian R. Mannal

2nd Barnstable


Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin


Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex


Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex


Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol


Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk


Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2249        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 787

By Ms. Provost of Somerville, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 787) of Denise Provost and others for legislation to reduce plastic bag use through regulations and incentives.  Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act relative to plastic bag reduction.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 21, as appearing in the Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 21N the following chapter:-



As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Secretary”, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

“Plastic carryout bag”: a bag made predominantly of any type of plastic, which is provided to a customer at the point of sale in a retail establishment, but does not include reusable bags, produce bags, or product bags, as defined herein.

“Produce bag" or “product bag” means any bag without handles used exclusively to carry produce, meats, or other food items to the point of sale inside a store or to prevent such food items from coming into direct contact with other purchased items.

“Recyclable” means material that can be sorted, cleansed, and reconstituted using available recycling collection programs for the purpose of using the material in the manufacture of a new product. “Recycling” does not include burning, incinerating, or otherwise thermally destroying solid waste.

“Recyclable paper carryout bag”: a paper bag that meets all of the following requirements: (1) is one hundred percent (100%) recyclable overall and contains a minimum of eighty percent (80%) recycled material; (2) displays the word “Recyclable” in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag. (2) has printed on the bag the name of the manufacturer, the location (country) where the bag was manufactured, and the percentage of recycled material used.

“Reusable bag”: a bag with handles that is designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and meets all of the following requirements: (1) has a minimum lifetime of 100 uses, which means the capability of carrying a minimum of 22 pounds 100 times over a distance of at least 175 feet; (2) has a minimum volume of 15 liters; (3) is machine washable or is made from a material that can be cleaned or disinfected; (4) does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts; (5) if made of plastic, is a minimum of at least 3.0 mils (.0762mm) thick.

“Retail establishment”, any retail store that is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


(a) No retail establishment located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may distribute plastic carryout bags as defined herein.

(b) This prohibition applies to bags provided for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale and does not apply to produce bags or product bags.

(c) If a retail establishment provides carryout bags at the point of sale, said bags must be Recyclable Paper Carryout Bags as defined herein.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be read to preclude any establishment from making Reusable Bags, as defined herein, available to customers by sale or otherwise.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be read to preclude any establishment from providing produce bags or product bag, as defined herein, to their customers.

(f) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit customers from using bags of any type that they bring to the store themselves or from carrying away goods that are not placed in a bag, in lieu of using bags provided by the store.

(g) Nothing in this section shall prohibit retail establishments from charging a fee for reusable bags or recyclable paper carryout bags as defined herein.


(a) All of the requirements set forth in this act shall take effect on April 22, 2015.

(b) The enforcement and penalty provisions of section 16 of chapter 21A shall apply to this chapter.

(c) The Secretary shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement this chapter.