Natasha Waden, Public Health Director
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476
For Immediate Release
Monday, Feb. 5, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Arlington to Prohibit Single Use Plastic Bags at Businesses
ARLINGTON — Public Health Director Natasha Waden announces that Arlington will implement a new regulation next month prohibiting businesses from providing disposable plastic bags to customers.
On March 1, Arlington will join more than 60 other communities in Massachusetts that have taken steps to reduce the use of single-use plastic shopping bags by retail establishments.
The Plastic Bag Reduction Bylaw, which Town Meeting members passed last spring, prohibits businesses from providing disposable plastic bags at checkout. The bylaw does not apply to the following bags: laundry and dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, bags used for loose produce, self-service bags used for bulk items, or other bags used to contain or wrap frozen goods, meat or fish, regardless of whether the items are pre-packaged.
The purpose of the regulation is to decrease waste and littering, protect marine life and waterways, encourage recycling and reduce Arlington’s carbon footprint.
“We’re so pleased to be joining our neighboring communities in the effort to protect our environment,” Waden said. “We understand that this will be a transition for residents, but we are excited to raise awareness about reducing waste and promoting recycling.”
The new bylaw will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, beginning March 1, customers will notice changes at larger establishments (10,000 square feet or bigger). This includes grocery stores, pharmacies and some retail stores.
The second phase, which provides small retailers (less than 10,000 square feet) additional time to comply with the bylaw, will take effect on July 1.
Instead of plastic bags, retail establishment will provide paper bags at no additional cost to customers. However, shoppers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags.
Anyone with questions about the Plastic Bag Reduction Bylaw should contact the Arlington Health Department at 781-316- 3170.