Plastic Bags Banned in Falmouth

plastic bagsFALMOUTH – Falmouth Town Meeting passed a petitioner’s warrant article last night that would ban plastic bags in town.

The new bylaw would take effect 18 months from now. It applies only to plastic bags with handles, not bags used for newspapers, dry cleaning, or deli items, among other exceptions.

Don Mallinson of East Falmouth, who submitted the bylaw, said he did so for environmental reasons.

He said a grocery trade group, in trying to block passage of the bylaw, submitted information on the number of plastic bags their members use. “From an astounding one and a half billion plastic bags used in Massachusetts each year, they had reduced it through their concerted efforts by 33 percent, so now they were only distributing a billion plastic bags. I’m blown away by these numbers,” he said.

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The article came before town meeting voters at about 11:15 p.m. on the second night of town meeting. The meeting ended at about 11:45 that night.

Peter Waasdorp, one of the town meeting members who voted in favor of the proposal said he believes the late hour contributed to the relative brevity of the discussion of the bylaw.

“The vote passed overwhelmingly in favor of it. The general argument was that Falmouth in the past has been one of the leading towns in terms of environmental concerns and it should take the lead on this one,” he said.

The Town of Provincetown passed a plastic bag bylaw last month, which takes effect in six months.

PLASTIC BAGS FALMOUTH 02

11/19/14  LMR

FALMOUTH TOWN MEETING VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY LAST NIGHT TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF A GROUP LOBBYING AGAINST IT. FALMOUTH ENVIRONMENTALIST DON MALLISON BROUGHT THE PETITIONERS ARTICLE TO TOWN MEETING. HE SAYS A GROCERY STORE TRADE GROUP SENT A MAILING TO EVERY TOWN MEETING MEMBER URGING OPPOSITION TO THE ARTICLE. THE GROUP SAYS THEY HAVE MADE PROGRESS ON THE ISSUE OF PLASTIC BAGS. MALLISON SAYS HE IS NOT CONVINCED.

MALLISON22    “. . . BY THESE NUMBERS.”  :15

THE PLASTIC BAG BAN GOES INTO EFFECT IN 18 MONTHS.

PLASTIC BAGS FALMOUTH-03

11/19/14  LMR

A LOBBYING GROUP MADE A LAST MINUTE EFFORT TO STOP FALMOUTH TOWN MEETING MEMBERS FROM BANNING PLASTIC BAGS. THEY WERE UNSUCCESSFUL AND FALMOUTH TOWN MEETING MEMBERS VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS LAST NIGHT. DON MALLISON IS THE FALMOUTH RESIDENT WHO BROUGHT THE WARRANT ARTICLE FORWARD TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS.

MALLISON20    “. . . BAGS WERE USEFUL.”  :09

THE NEW BYLAW GOES INTO EFFECT IN 18 MONTHS. THE TOWN OF PROVINCETOWN WAS THE FIRST TOWN ON THE CAPE TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS. THEIR TOWN MEETING BANNED THE BAGS LAST MONTH.