Chamber News

Newton
May 29, 2019 Likes Comments

Newton considering new recycling rules and paper bag fees

The Newton City Council will be considering a proposal that would require commercial property owners and some condo associations who rely on private waste haulers to begin collecting recycling.

State laws prohibit recyclable materials from being disposed of as trash. Yet, there are a significant number of businesses and commercial properties, as well as some condo associations that currently do not subscribe to recycling services.

In a separate initiative, the council is also considering expanding its plastic bag ban and adding a ten-cent fee on all check out bags, including paper bags. The rules would eliminate the current exemptions that exist for small merchants.

Chamber President Greg Reibman is interested in your feedback on both proposals. Please email him at greibman@nnchamber.com

Here is the full text of the letter explaining the proposals which was mailed to 1,611 Newton businesses.

 

Dear Business Owner or Manager,

The City of Newton is exploring efforts to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling efforts. We are considering amendments to our plastic bag reduction ordinance that would remove the exemption for small businesses, update the definition of a reusable bag and add a fee on all check out bags (including paper bags) at the point of sale. The purpose of the Ordinance is to protect the marine environment, advance solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect waterways by reducing disposable or single use checkout bags at retail establishments. The Ordinance seeks to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags being disposed, used, discarded and littered, and to promote the use of reusable checkout bags.

Amendments to Plastic Bag Reduction (AKA “Bring Your Own Bag”) Ordinance includes:

  • 1. If any store provides a checkout bag to customers, the bag must be either a recyclable paper bag or a reusable checkout bag. A reusable checkout bag is defined as:

“reusable checkout bag”, means a sewn bag with stitched handles that (1) can carry 25 pounds over a distance of 300 feet; (2) is either (a) made of cloth or other machine washable fabric; or (b) made of plastic other than polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, PETE, etc.) or polyvinyl chloride that is durable, non-toxic, and generally considered a food-grade material that is more than 4 mils thick.

  • 2. A store that provides any type of checkout bag shall sell them for no less than ten cents ($0.10). All money collected will be retained by the store. 

  • 3. Any charge for a Checkout Bag shall be separately stated on a receipt provided to the customer at the time of sale and called the “Checkout Bag Charge”.

A checkout bag does not include: a paper bag given to customers at the pharmacy for medication any bag without handles that’s used to protect items from damaging or contaminating others, such as protecting wine bottles or vegetables, or a bag used to contain unwrapped food.

Adopt Best Practices for Private Hauler Regulations

In addition, the City is working to improve recycling access and compliance throughout the City. This includes businesses and commercial properties who rely on private haulers to collect waste and recycling. State laws prohibit recyclable materials from being disposed of as trash. Yet, there are a significant number of businesses and commercial properties, as well as some condo associations that currently do not subscribe to recycling services.

The intent is to adopt a requirement for all private waste haulers that wish to be licensed to operate in the City of Newton to offer both recycling and waste pick up, known as ”bundled service,” to all customers. This requirement will ensure a level playing field, increase recycling access and bring all businesses and commercial properties into compliance with State waste ban laws.

The City would like to hear from you about both these proposals, particularly about existing barriers that limit recycling access currently at your place of business.

Please send comments to: recycling@newtonma.gov

Thank you!

Alison Leary

Newton City Council

 

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