July 9 2019

September Date Set for Start of Burlington Bag Ban

By: Thaddeus Stephanak

Paper or reusable? 


Those will soon be shoppers’ options when checking out in Burlington stores. The town’s plastic bag ban goes into effect September 10, 2019.


Last January Burlington Town Meeting voted in favor of a bylaw regulating the use of retail checkout bags in an effort to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags being used and to encourage the use of reusable bags. The bylaw will require retail establishments to provide reusable bags, or recyclable paper bags to customers


Burlington joins over ninety other municipalities in Massachusetts that have passed similar regulations aimed at protecting land and marine environments, minimizing litter, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


The ordinance applies to checkout bags, which are defined as, “carryout bags, with handles, provided by a retail establishment to a customer at the point of sale.”


Not defined as checkout bags and considered exempt are the following: 

• Loose produce bags to deliver items to the point of sale/checkout;

• Laundry or dry cleaner bags;

• Newspaper bags;

• Bags used to wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, whether pre-packaged or not, to prevent or contain moisture.


This ordinance applies to retail establishments defined as any commercial enterprise, whether for profit or not, including restaurants, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores, liquor stores, jewelry stores, household goods stores, and seasonal or temporary businesses or any other business that offers the sale of food or merchandise.


The penalty for the first violation shall be a written warning. The penalty for a second violation is a $25 fine. For each additional violation, the penalty shall be $50.

The bylaw in its entirety, including all relevant definitions, requirements, and exceptions can be found by clicking here


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