Amherst plastic bag ban goes into effect

Retailers may charge fee for enviroment-friendly bags

AMHERST, Mass (WWLP) – The next time you go shopping in Amherst, you’ll notice some changes.

Anne Leonard of Amherst said, “I think we need a plastic famine.”

The town of Amherst now joins 30 other Massachusetts communities that have adopted a ban on single-use plastic bags. The ban went into effect, Sunday January 1st, and every Amherst retailer will have to comply.

Tari Thomas added, “I’m totally psyched about it those plastic bags drive me crazy they’re not great for the environment, I have a collection of reusable bags and I take them everywhere I go.”

Concerns about the environment and wildlife were cited as reasons for adopting the ban.

According to the World economic report, 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year which threatens both land and ocean life.

Amherst retailers will now provide recyclable, reusable or biodegradable bags, and it’s up to the retailers to decide whether they will charge a fee for these bags.

Tom Alves, a manager at Big Y told 22News, “What we’re doing is going to large paper and small paper so they have a couple of choices of which they’d rather use, but it’s been very positive so far.”

But others feel this ban is unnecessary, and inconvenient.

Alves continued to say, “I think it’s honestly a pain in the butt that we can’t use plastic bags I understand it takes up space and landfill but compared to water bottles and things like that plastic bags aren’t a bad thing.”

The Amherst board of health is responsible for enforcing the ban. If a retail store is in violation of the ban, a written warning will be issued with the potential for fines for any other violations.

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