On July 30, Newton’s Plastic Bag Ordinance will start banning point of sale plastic bags less than 3 mils in thickness at retail establishments of 3,500 sq. ft. or greater. Retail stores with retail space of less than 3,500 sq. ft. or multiple locations under 3,500 square feet will be exempt from the ban. Bags used for loose produce, laundry or dry-cleaner bags or newspaper bags will also be exempt.

When Newton’s Board of Aldermen unanimously passed this ordinance back in January 2015, they considered the millions of animals that are killed or mutilated by ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic bags every year. The bags are so aerodynamic that they frequently blow away and become litter that does not biodegrade; instead they slowly fragment into tiny bits that can then contaminate soil, waterways, and our oceans. These small bits, known as micro-plastics, displace food supplies and threaten the survival of a broad range of sea life.

In Massachusetts, 15 communities have now passed bans; Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Falmouth, Great Barrington, Harwich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Nantucket, Newton, Newburyport, Northhampton, Provincetown, Wellfleet and Williamstown. Nationally hundreds of communities have passed bans including the entire states of California and Hawaii.

Shaw’s no longer offers plastic bags, so if you shop there, remember to bring your own re-usable bags or you will be charged 10 cents for each paper bag.  Green Newton asks you to bring your re-usable bags every time you shop, even if it means trekking back to your car to get them.