Massachusetts Senate passes bill to limit use of plastic bags and straws

Local news

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has passed a sweeping bill to limit using plastics. Among other things, state agencies can be banned from purchasing single-use plastic bottles.

The bill passed Thursday also bans the distribution of plastic take-out bags at retail stores across the state and requires stores to charge 10 cents for luggage made out of recycled paper. It also requires straws and plastic tableware to be available only upon request and creates a program to recycle large items similar to automotive seats. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

The move comes as an increasing number of countries raise concerns about plastic harming wildlife, polluting waterways and clogging landfills. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, 2,000 garbage trucks stuffed with plastic are dumped into the world's oceans, rivers and lakes every single day. More and more persons are respiration, eating and drinking tiny plastic particles.

“This important legislation is another step forward in eradicating plastic, one of the biggest polluters, from our daily lives,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Environmentalists welcomed the move, which might make Massachusetts the thirteenth state to pass a plastic bag ban. It also builds on local initiatives in Massachusetts, where bans are already in place in communities representing 70 percent of the state's population.

It also codified an executive order signed last 12 months by Governor Maura Healey, which she said made Massachusetts the primary state to ban state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles.

“State leaders have chosen to take a big step to reduce waste and protect our neighbors and local wildlife from the dangers of excessive plastic use,” said Jess Nahigian, political director of the Sierra Club Massachusetts, in a press release. “Plastic harms our ecosystems and communities. Reducing plastic use is a necessary step to meet our state climate goals and create a more sustainable home for future generations of Massachusetts residents.”

But the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which advocates for responsible fiscal management, said the ban was a part of a broader trend within the Senate to limit consumer selection.

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