I’ve been asked by a new group in Watertown — “Rethink Plastic” — to make a statement about eliminating single use plastic bags. I’m pleased to do so!
I do support eliminating single use plastic bags. I am cosponsor of a bill, House 696, which would address this issue statewide. The environmental damage that plastic bags create doesn’t justify the modest convenience that they offer. My colleage Lori Ehrlich is the lead sponsor of this particular bill and has articulated the case for this legislation on her website.
The Environment Committee, on which I sit, reported out House 696 and a companion bill favorably last April. Both bills need further legislative action for approval.
Update: Summary of Rep. Ehrlich’s 2015-2016 bill on this subject:
HD 3397 – An act to reduce plastic bag pollution
On the heels of successfully passed legislation in California, we will seek to become the second state in the nation to pass a statewide ban of single use plastic grocery bags. So ubiquitous is bag pollution that the bags have been dubbed “urban tumbleweed” as they clog storm drains, flood homes, and litter sidewalks. Due to their aerodynamic nature they end up stuck in trees and in the ocean they are deadly to marine life and don’t break down for hundreds of years. This legislation would encourage the use of durable, reusable grocery bags following the lead of most other Western countries which have kicked the plastic bag habit.