Elimination of Single-Use Checkout Bags By-law

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the bylaw?

The purpose of this bylaw is to eliminate the usage of thin-film single-use plastic bags by all retail and grocery stores in the Town of Maynard. These bags may have a significant impact on the environment.

What is a thin-film single-use plastic bag?

A bag, typically with handles, with a thickness of 4 mils or less and are intended for single-use transport of purchase products.

When does the bylaw take effect?

The bylaw will apply to food establishments and retail and grocery stores July 26, 2022.

Are any plastic bags allowed?

Single-use plastic bags used to contain dry cleaning, newspapers, produce, meat, bulk foods, wet items and other similar merchandise, typically without handles, may be distributed, used or sold at any retail or grocery store.

Will businesses be fined for noncompliance?

Yes, any food establishments or retail or grocery store distributing plastic grocery bags in violation of this bylaw shall be subject to a non-criminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulations for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under M.L.G. Chapter 40, Section 21D and the Bylaw for Non-Criminal Disposition of Violations. The following penalties shall apply: 1st offense, warning; 2nd offense, $50.00; 3rd offense $100.00 and appearance in front of the Board of Health; 4th and each subsequent offense $200.00.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, a 6-month exemption is available if compliance causes an undue hardship for your business. Submit a Hardship Application to the Board of Health, PRIOR TO July 26, 2022, explaining how compliance would have a negative impact on your business. Examples include financial burdens, excessive existing inventory, issues sourcing compliant products, etc.

Download the hardship application form.

Additionally, the bylaw does not apply to non-commercial retail establishments.

 

The By-law

This is the text of the Town By-law.

Section 1: Purpose and Intent. The purpose of this Bylaw is to eliminate the usage of thin- film single-use plastic checkout bags by all food establishments and retail and grocery stores in the Town of Maynard after adoption at Town Meeting.

Section 2: Definitions

A. FOOD ESTABLISHMENT: Any operation that prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption. This includes without limitation, restaurants and food trucks.

B. RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT: Any commercial facility that sells goods directly to the consumer including, but not limited to, grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, convenience stores, restaurants, retail stores, seasonal and temporary businesses.

C. REUSABLE CHECKOUT BAG: A machine-washable bag with sewn handles that is specifically designed for multiple use and is made of cloth, fabric, or other durable material.

D. THIN-FILM SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAG: A bag, typically with handles, with a thickness of 4 mils thick or less intended for single-use transport of purchased products.

Section 3: Regulations

  1. Thin-film single-use plastic bags shall not be distributed, used, or sold for checkout or other purposes at any retail or grocery store within the Town of Maynard.
  2. If a retail establishment provides bags to a customer at the point of sale, such bags shall be (1) 100% recyclable, including the handles, (2) contain at least 40% post- consumer recycled paper content, and (3) display this information about recyclability and content on the bag surface.

Section 4: Exceptions. Thin-film plastic bags typically without handles that are used to contain dry cleaning, newspapers, produce, meat, bulk foods, wet items, and other similar merchandise are not prohibited under this Bylaw.

Section 5: Enforcement. Enforcing this Bylaw shall be the responsibility of the Board of Health, who shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other town duties as appropriate. Any retail establishment distributing single-use checkout bags in violation of this bylaw may be subject to a non-criminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulation for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under M.G.L Chapter 40, Section 21D and the Bylaw for Non-Criminal Disposition of Violations.
The following penalties shall apply:

  • First offense: Warning
  • Second offense: $50
  • Third offense: $100 and appearance in front of Board of Health Fourth and subsequent offenses: $200
  • Fourth and subsequent offenses: $200

Section 6: Exemptions. The Board of Health may exempt a retail establishment from the requirements of this Bylaw for a period of six months upon finding that the requirements of this section would cause undue hardship.

Section 7: Severability. Each section of this Bylaw shall be construed as separate to the end that if any section, sentence, clause, or phrase thereof shall be invalid for any reason, the remainder of this Bylaw shall continue in force.

Section 8: Enactment. This Bylaw shall go into effect six months after the date of approval by the Attorney General.