Boston’s plastic bag ordinance went into effect December 14, banning plastic bags at check-out counters across the city. Retailers are now transitioning to paper, compostable or reusable bags that customers can purchase for a minimum of 5 cents. The purpose of the ban is to reduce plastic waste in the oceans and on our city streets. Consumers can avoid the bag charge by bringing their own reusable bag.

While most people seem in favor of reducing waste to help the environment, some concerns raised at the December North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association meeting included the burden this puts on consumers, particularly in a city where people walk places so cannot stash a pile of bags in their cars, who may stop in a store unexpectedly and will not have a bag with them.

How has the plastic bag ban been going for you? Have you found the transition easy or are you now constantly paying for bags at check-out? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below.

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Note: Web polls are unscientific and reflect only those who choose to participate. NorthEndWaterfront.com polls do not have any official significance and are only intended for the interest of our readers.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I keep a reusable bag in my purse so even if it’s an impulse trip or I forget, there’s no issue. My car has at least half dozen reusable bags in it. It’s a small sacrifice to convenience to help the environment.

  2. It is unrealistic for city, walking commuters.
    Good luck buying paper towels at CVS in the rain. Not even a purchasable bag to be able to carry these.

    • This narrative is so tired. I hate to imaging what else is unrealistic for you if you’re incapable of getting a roll of paper towels home undamaged.

      Also, small note on the poll description…
      The City says the purpose of the ordinance is “To reduce litter, protect ocean environments and waterways from pollution, reduce greenhouse gasses, and reduce solid waste in the waste stream” (as the article summarizes). But eliminating the problems plastic bags cause on single stream recycling centers might be the biggest benefit of (and true motivation for) the ban.

  3. If a establishment charges 5 cents for those paper bags ! Go some where else
    I’ve been using recyclable paper bags in my work for 15 years , they are not much more
    And wonderful for the environment

  4. I’m a fan of the ban and just think it is way overdue, but I’m kind of confused because I keep getting offered plastic bags from local north end shops. It’s not like this should have been a surprise to them. And I’m not talking about the reusable bags CVS offers, I’m talking about ordinary single-use plastic bags that should have disappeared by now. I have always carried my own bag, but everywhere I go in the north end I find all of the shops/restaurants are still using plastic bags. Yesterday I got takeout and it came in a plastic bag. Seriously, Cambridge and Somerville were ahead of us by years on this bring-your-own-bag rule (not to mention all of Europe) you think our local businesses could figure it out, too.

  5. This is a simple solution which will help the environment. Nature Magazine had photos of sea creatures caught in plastic and moving among cable wires, plastic containers, etc. Truly heartbreaking. If you saw the pictures you’d be inclined to make the effort to bring a bag with you or purchase a compostable bag for 5 cents and reuse it.

  6. In response to “Sw”:
    From the NECN article here:
    https://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Heres-What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Bostons-Plastic-Bag-Ban-502761431.html
    “Stores that are 20,000 square feet or larger are required to adhere to the ordinance by Friday. Businesses that are at least 10,000 square feet have until April 1, 2019 to comply while smaller establishments have until July 1, 2019.”
    This explains the tiered deadlines based on square footage of the establishment and why NE shops are not yet complying (yet).

  7. I have a resuable bag I use but I paid 5 cents a few times before, i’m used to it now. Ik in Whole Foods sometimes they’ve asked me for 5 cents if I need a bag, but sometimes I just give them the total and it must cover the 5 cent cost same with CVS.

  8. My question is … I’m not understanding why we are being charged for the bag. Isn’t the cost of the bag already in the purchase price of the item. Is the store deducting the cost in the product purchase and then adding it back? I think someone is double dipping.

  9. How did we survive 50 , 60 years ago when we went to the store and used paper bags,, the struggle is real going in town shopping and carrying your stuff home in a paper shopping bag, or gang to your favorite produce store carrying your stuff home in a brown shopping bag that would kill your hands by the time you got home,, even going to a mom and pop store paper bags were used,, every city seems to be going back to using paper for everything,, invest in a good leather shopping bag or one of those portable shopping carts ,,

    • Well the same people who complain about the plastic bags complained about trees being killed for paper. Just like the bottle deposits, it’s just another way to reach into your pocket.

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