Source: Christopher Ruvo in Promogram

Boston could become the next major American city to ban single-use plastic bags. If enacted, the prohibition could help stoke sales of reusable branded totes in the city of 673,000 people that boasts a metro area population of 4.6 million.

Boston City Council has voted 11-0 in support of an ordinance that clamps down on single-use plastic bags. As part of the pending regulations, which would apply within Boston city limits, businesses would be required to charge a fee of at least five cents per bag to shoppers who want a thicker, compostable plastic bag. Also, shoppers could opt to incur a five-cent charge for bigger paper bags with handles.

The aim of the ordinance is to combat the pollution and environmental degradation that single-use plastic bags cause, proponents say. In addition to littering streets, parks and neighborhoods, an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic trash – bags and more – befouls the oceans annually. The waste asphyxiates marine life and impacts ocean ecosystems. It can even disrupt the food chain, environmentalists say.

“The problem is plastic bags,” Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who spearheaded the ban proposal, said in an article published by The Boston Globe. “These plastic bags do not end up in the dedicated recycling bins at your local Whole Foods or Roche Brothers supermarkets. They end up in our streets, in our gutters, tangled up in our wildlife and our marine ecosystem.”

City Council intends to have the plastic bag rules go into effect about a year from now. That would give businesses and residents a chance to adapt to the changes, proponents believe.
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