At an April 2 hearing of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, the MMA testified in support of a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide.

Citing the example set by nearly 100 Massachusetts communities that have already passed local bylaws or ordinances limiting the distribution or use of the bags, the MMA argued in favor of extending the ban to all 351 cities and towns.

Several environmental organizations and a large contingent of legislators joined the MMA in its support for a statewide ban.

The abundance of plastic bags provided by retailers at point of sale are used for just a matter of minutes but last for decades, or longer, in landfills and the natural environment, creating long-term negative effects.

Plastic bags also clog recycling machinery, causing breakdowns that increase waste processing costs. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection urges residents and businesses to keep all plastic bags out of the recycling stream. Single-use plastic bags should either be returned to retailers who agree to recycle them or discarded in the trash.

In its written testimony, the MMA cautioned the committee against passing legislation that would preempt existing local plastic and paper bag limits that are more stringent than what are included in a statewide bill.

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