BOSTON (CBS) – It looks like you can say goodbye to single use plastic bags if you shop in Boston. The City Council has voted to ban them.
The vote margin even surprised some advocates. If Mayor Walsh approves the ban, it would take effect in a year.
It was a 10-0 vote in the council to ban thin, single use plastic shopping bags. The goal is to dramatically reduce the use of plastic bags by encouraging people to bring their own bags to stores, or pay a nickel for a paper bag or for a thicker, re-usable plastic bag.
City Councilor Matt O’Malley spearheaded the ban. “They end up in our streets, in our storm gutters, in our trees, tangled in our wildlife and in our marine eco system,” he told the Council.
Some businesses oppose the ban, even calling charging for bags a “tax.” In a statement an industry lobbying group called the American Progressive Bag Alliance says: “It is a shame that City Councilors pushed through a tax that will hit seniors and low-income families the hardest. We hope Mayor Walsh will show leadership and reject this new measure as it currently stands.”
But people backing the ban were ecstatic, seeing today’s vote as a stepping stone to bigger things. “Once we’ve won in Boston, then the state will follow immediately we’re sure. So we’re so thrilled to finally see this come to pass,” says Brad Verter of the Mass Green Network.
“We can help clean it up and we can have an incredibly positive impact not only on the environment, but on reducing litter and really increasing the quality of life for all Bostonians,” adds Councilor O’Malley.
Mayor Walsh’s office says he’s reviewing the bill. If he approves, the ban would go into effect in a year. That’s to give stores time to use up their plastic bag inventory and get shoppers used to the idea. And Boston would become the 60th community in the state to ban the bags.