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Posted on: November 22, 2016

Amherst Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect January 1, 2017

Plastic Bag Ban

Findings for the warrant article presented at Town Meeting cite damaging impacts to wildlife and the environment as reasons for implementing a ban. At least 8 million metric tons of plastic contaminate the world’s oceans and an estimated 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually according to the World Economics Report. The bags pose a direct threat to both terrestrial and ocean wildlife that mistake them for food.

Local Amherst retailers will no longer be allowed to provide plastic bags to customers as of January 1st. They may provide biodegradable, reusable, compostable or recyclable paper bags. It is at the retailer’s discretion whether or not to impose a fee for these items. Kevin Hollerbach who sponsored the general petition article is spearheading an information campaign to encourage residents to bring their own bags to retail establishments.

The Town’s Board of Health is responsible for enforcement of the ban. In the unlikely event that a retail establishment is in violation of the ban, a written warning shall be issued with the potential for fines for subsequent violations.

Businesses needing more information about the ban may contact Economic Development Director, Geoff Kravitz at kravitzg@amherstma.gov.

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