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Pittsfield's Plastic Bag Ban Begins With the New Year
01:44PM / Monday, December 30, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Single-use plastics will be in short supply beginning New Year's Day. 
 
The City Council back in March passed an ordinance that bans use of thin-film plastic bags within the city effective Jan. 1. 
 
Pittsfield retail establishments will have to utilize reusable checkout bags, recyclable paper bags, or compostable plastic bags. Thin-film, single-use plastic bags are defined as bags with a thickness of 3 mils or less; those that are thicker are considered reuseable. 
 
The ban had been proposed in 2013 through a petition by local attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo and had been working its way through the City Council process for years. It was first coupled with a ban on Styrofoam, which was later passed in 2015 separate from the bag ban and restricted polystyrene food containers.
 
The city is one of more than 130 across the state that have reduced or banned single-use plastic bags, including Adams, Becket, Dalton, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge and Williamstown.
 
North Adams briefly considered putting a ban in place but backed off after some pushback from local businesses. In the meantime, both Big Y and Stop & Shop, two major grocers in the city, instituted programs to eliminate or reduce the use of plastic bags. 
 
The Stop & Shop at Dan Fox Drive will be giving away 300 reusable bags to local customers on a first-come, first served basis on Wednesday. 
 
The Sierra Club estimates Massachusetts residents use a bag a day for more than 2 billion bags a year.
 
Some single-use bags will still be allowed in Pittsfield, including:
  • Thin-film bags without handles. 
  • Bags for loose produce or products used to carry to checkout;
  • Laundry or dry cleaner bags;
  • Newspaper delivery bags;
  • Bags used to wrap produce, frozen foods, meat or fish, and bulk foods.
 
Businesses wishing a hardship exemption have until Tuesday to apply to the Board of Health. 
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