October 10,2019 by Carol Britton Meyer
It's time to stock up on reusable shopping bags if you haven't already!
The Town Meeting-approved, long-talked-about single-use plastic bag ban in Hingham will soon become a reality when the new town regulation goes into effect on Nov. 1.
The ban targets the thin plastic bags available at grocery stores and pharmacies but not newspaper, or dry cleaning bags.
The Cleaner Greener Committee continues to educate citizens about what the ban is all about. The overriding message is that while plastic bags are “convenient, recyclable, and part of everyday life,” only seven percent of them get recycled while the rest take many years to break down. They wash ashore and choke marine life, resulting in what the committee calls "plastic bag pollution."
As part of its education effort, the Cleaner Greener Committee designed and then passed out to local businesses "Hey Hingham/Remember to bring your own bags!" reminder stickers "in the lead-up to the bag ban taking effect," committee member Stephen Jiranek said. "It is based on the sticker that Boston used in implementing its bag ban."
Hingham is among the nearly 120 Massachusetts cities and towns that already have bans in place, including Cohasset, Duxbury, and Marshfield, although the specifics vary by community.
The Hingham Health Department will be the enforcing agency, with stores that continue to use single-use plastic bags subject to penalties that progress from a written warning to fines that escalate each day the violation continues. (See chart.)
"The Health Department worked with retailers on what product and checkout bags will be acceptable to offer customers," said Executive Health officer Susan Sarni.
Check the chart below for more information, and here's the link to the new Hingham bylaw: