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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2022        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1990


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Lori A. Ehrlich


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.






Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

James B. Eldridge


Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

William N. Brownsberger


Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera

10th Hampden

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Linda Campbell

15th Essex

Christine E. Canavan

10th Plymouth

Sonia Chang-Diaz


Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

Michael D. Brady

9th Plymouth

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk

Patricia D. Jehlen


Timothy R. Madden

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Byron Rushing

9th Suffolk

Alice K. Wolf

25th Middlesex

Gailanne M. Cariddi

1st Berkshire

Cynthia S. Creem


Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Cleon H. Turner

1st Barnstable

Katherine M. Clark

Middlesex and Essex

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

George N. Peterson, Jr.

9th Worcester

Karen E. Spilka


William M. Straus

10th Bristol

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2022        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1990

By Ms. Ehrlich of Marblehead, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1990) of Lori A. Ehrlich and others relative to reducing the use of non-compostable plastic bags in retail sales.  Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



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:-


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

              “Commissioner”, the commissioner of the department of environmental protection.

              “ASTM standard”, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)’s International standard D6400 for compostable plastic, and other such standards as deemed acceptable by the commissioner; standards may be amended from time to time.

              “Compostable plastic bag”,  a plastic bag that (1) conforms to the current ASTM standard for compostability; (2) is certified and labeled as meeting the ASTM standard by a recognized verification entity such as the Biodegradable Product Institute; (3) other standards deemed acceptable by the commissioner

              “Checkout bag”, a carryout bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale.

              “Department”, the department of environmental protection.

              “Person”, an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, corporation, cooperative, partnership, or association.

              “Reusable bag”, a bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and is either (1) made of cloth or other machine washable fabric, or (2) made of durable plastic that is at least 2.25 mils thick.

              “Retail establishment”, any retail store 4,000 square feet or over.

              Section 2.  (a) If a retail establishment provides plastic checkout bags to customers, the bags must only be compostable plastic bags.

              (b) Nothing in this section shall be read to preclude any establishment from making reusable

              checkout bags available for sale to customers.

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

              (b)              The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement this section.

              Section 3. All of the requirements set forth in this act shall take effect 12 months after its effective date.

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