SENATE DOCKET, NO. 896        FILED ON: 1/16/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 462


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



James B. Eldridge


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 reducing plastic bag pollution.







James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester


Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex


Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex


Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex


Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex


Patrick M. O'Connor

Plymouth and Norfolk


Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex


William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex


Edward J. Kennedy

First Middlesex


Joanne M. Comerford

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester


Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk


Paul R. Feeney

Bristol and Norfolk


Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester


Denise Provost

27th Middlesex


Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex


David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

17th Worcester


Brendan P. Crighton

Third Essex


Joan B. Lovely

Second Essex


John F. Keenan

Norfolk and Plymouth


Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex


Cindy F. Friedman

Fourth Middlesex


Julian Cyr

Cape and Islands


Rebecca L. Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex


Maria Duaime Robinson

6th Middlesex


James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol


Sonia Chang-Diaz

Second Suffolk


Peter Capano

11th Essex


John J. Lawn, Jr.

10th Middlesex


Frank A. Moran

17th Essex


Cynthia Stone Creem

First Middlesex and Norfolk


Michael J. Barrett

Third Middlesex


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 896        FILED ON: 1/16/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 462

By Mr. Eldridge, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 462) of James B. Eldridge, Lori A. Ehrlich, Jack Patrick Lewis, Jason M. Lewis and other members of the General Court for legislation relative to plastic bag reduction.  Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.


SEE SENATE, NO. 424 OF 2017-2018.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act reducing plastic bag pollution.


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. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after chapter 21O the following chapter:



Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Postconsumer recycled material”, a material that would otherwise be destined for solid waste disposal, having completed its intended end use and product life cycle. Postconsumer recycled material does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing and fabrication process.

“Recycled paper bag”, a paper bag that is (i) 100 per cent recyclable; (ii) contains a minimum of 40 per cent postconsumer recycled materials, provided, however, that an 8 pound or smaller recycled paper bag shall contain a minimum of 20 per cent postconsumer recycled material; and (iii) displays the words "Recyclable" and "made from 40% post-consumer recycled content" or other applicable amount in a visible manner on the outside of the bag.

“Reusable grocery bag”, a sewn bag with stitched handles that is (i) specifically designed and manufactured for at least 175 uses; (ii) can carry 25 pounds over a distance of 300 feet; and (iii) is made of cloth or other machine-washable fabric other than polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride.

“Single-use carryout bag”, a bag made of plastic, paper, or other material that is provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale and that is not a recycled paper bag or a reusable grocery bag. A single-use carryout bag does not include the following: (i) a paper bag provided by a pharmacy to a customer purchasing a prescription medication; (ii) a non-handled bag used to protect items from damaging or contaminating other purchased items placed in a recycled paper bag, a reusable grocery bag; (iii) a bag provided to contain an unwrapped food item; or (iv) a non-handled bag that is designed to be placed over articles of clothing on a hanger.

“Store”, a retail establishment, person, corporation, partnership, business venture, or  vendor that sells or provides merchandise, goods or materials directly to a customer, whether for  or not for profit, including but not limited to restaurants, pharmacies, convenience and grocery  stores, liquor stores, seasonal and temporary businesses, farmers markets, public markets, jewelry stores, and household goods stores, provided however, the term store does not include bazaars, fairs or festivals operated by nonprofit organizations or religious institutions

Section 2. (a) Except as provided in this section on and after August 1, 2019, a store shall not provide a single-use carryout bag to a customer at the point of sale.

(b) From the date of enactment until August 1, 2019, a store may make available for purchase at the point of sale a single-use carryout bag, reusable grocery bag, or recycled paper bag. A store that makes single-use carryout bags or recycled paper bags available for purchase prior to August 1, 2019 shall sell the single-use carryout bag or recycled paper bag for $0.10.

(c) On and after August 1, 2019, a store shall make available for purchase a recycled paper bag, for a charge of $0.10.

(d) On and after August 1, 2019, a store may make available for purchase a reusable grocery bag, for a charge of no less than $0.10.

(e) All moneys collected pursuant to this section shall be retained by the store.

(f) The department of environmental protection shall promulgate regulations with regard to the enforcement of this chapter.

Section 3. Nothing in this chapter shall preempt further limitation of single-use carryout bags by any political subdivision of the Commonwealth enacted after the enactment of this law; provided, however, that any municipality with an existing ordinance or by-law banning plastic bags shall be null and void on August 1, 2019.