The Association to Preserve Cape Cod today submitted written testimony to the State Legislature in support of a bill that would institute a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
The testimony in support of the bill, An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (S.462/H.771), was sent to the Senate and House chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, which is currently reviewing it.
The proposed legislation requires retail stores to cease providing single-use plastic bags at check-out. Retailers can offer recycled paper bags for 10 cents. The ban would not extend to plastic bags used for fruit, vegetables, meat or other items that may be damaged or that could possibly contaminate other products. An exemption for plastic bags used for hanging clothes is included in the bill.
APCC supports the statewide ban out of concern about the proliferation of plastic bags entering in the waste stream, and the amount of plastic bags that litter roadsides and landscapes. Plastic bags are responsible for an estimated 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths each year from cast aside bags that are mistaken for food and ingested.
The bill, filed by Senator James Eldridge of the Middlesex and Worcester District and Representative Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead, is also cosponsored dozens of other Senate and House members, including Cape legislators Senator Julian Cyr, Representative Sarah Peake and Representative Dylan Fernandes.
The movement against single-use plastic bags has gained traction across Massachusetts, with nearly 100 cities and towns having adopted regulations banning their use, including several towns on Cape Cod.
The following is the text of APCC’s written testimony.
April 10, 2019
The Honorable Anne M. Gobi, Senate Chair
The Honorable Smitty Pignatelli, House Chair
Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
Boston, MA 02133
RE: Support for H.771/S.462, An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution
Dear Chair Gobi and Chair Pignatelli:
The Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) writes to you in strong support of An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (S.462/H.771) and urges the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to act quickly in reporting this bill out with a favorable recommendation.
Founded in 1968, APCC is Cape Cod’s leading nonprofit environmental advocacy and education organization. APCC works for the adoption of laws, policies and programs that preserve, protect and enhance Cape Cod’s natural resources and quality of life.
An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution would help address the mounting environmental issues associated with the proliferation of single-use plastic bags on Cape Cod and across Massachusetts. Plastic bags account for a significant percentage of the Commonwealth’s waste stream. The countless bags not disposed of properly inevitably end up littering roadsides, clogging storm drains and creating a general blight on our landscape.
As a coastal state, Massachusetts must bear some of the responsibility for the estimated 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths each year caused by cast aside single-use plastic bags that are mistaken for food and ingested.
With more environmentally compatible alternatives readily available, such as reusable shopping bags, the time is right for this bill to be adopted into law. Many cities and towns across the state have already adopted their own plastic bag bans, with more proposals up for consideration at town meetings this spring. Passage of S.462/H.771 would create a unified state law that addresses the issue of plastic bag pollution while at the same time establishing a more fair and predictable rule for businesses.
APCC therefore asks for your support of S.462/H.771 and requests that you work with
fellow members of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and
Agriculture to give this bill a favorable report and allow it to proceed through the legislative process.
Thank you very much for your consideration of this important legislation.
Andrew Gottlieb Don Keeran
Executive Director Assistant Director
cc: Sen. James Eldridge
Rep. Lori Ehrlich
Sen. Julian Cyr
Sen. Viriato deMacedo
Rep. Sarah Peake
Rep. Timothy Whelan
Rep. William Crocker
Rep. David Vieira
Rep. Dylan Fernandes
Rep. Randy Hunt