Town of Lexington, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-26-2018 ATM by Art. 33]
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 Lexington. The production and use of single-use bags have significant impacts on the environment, including, but not limited to: contributing to pollution of the land environment and waterways; contributing to the potential death of marine and other wildlife through ingestion and entanglement; clogging storm drainage systems; littering Lexington's streets, parks, public places, and local waterways; creating a burden to solid waste collection and recycling facilities; requiring the use of millions of barrels of crude oil nationally for their manufacture.
CHECKOUT BAG
A carryout bag provided by a retail or grocery store to a customer at the point of sale. Checkout bags shall not include bags, whether plastic or not, in which loose produce or products are placed by the consumer to deliver such items to the point of sale or checkout area of the retail or grocery store.
GROCERY STORE
A retail establishment where more than 50% of the gross floor area is devoted to the sale of food products for home preparation and consumption, which typically also offers home care and personal care products.
RETAIL STORE
An establishment that offers the sale and display of merchandise within a building.
REUSABLE CHECKOUT BAG
A bag, with handles, that is specifically designed for multiple use and is made of thick plastic, cloth, fabric or other durable materials excluding polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride.
THIN-FILM SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS
Typically with plastic handles, these are bags with a thickness of less than 2.25 mils and are intended for single-use transport of purchased products.
A. 
Except as expressly set forth in this bylaw, 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 Lexington on or after January 1, 2019.
B. 
Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable or biodegradable shopping bags to stores. Retail or grocery stores are strongly encouraged to make reusable checkout bags available for sale to customers at a reasonable price.
C. 
Notwithstanding § 81-3A of this bylaw, thin-film, 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.
A. 
In the event that compliance with this bylaw is not feasible by January 1, 2019, for a retail or grocery store because of either unavailability of alternative check out bags or economic hardship, the Town Manager or Town Manager's designee may grant a waiver of not more than six months upon application of the owner or owner's representative. The Town Manager or Town Manager's designee may provide one additional six-month waiver upon showing of continued infeasibility or hardship, as set forth above.
B. 
In the case of retail or grocery stores with a floor area less than 3,500 square feet, this bylaw shall not go into effect until July 1, 2019.
Enforcement of this bylaw shall be the responsibility of the Town Manager or Town Manager's designee. The Town Manager or Town Manager's designee shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other Town duties as appropriate. Any retail or grocery store distributing plastic grocery bags in violation of this bylaw shall be subject to a noncriminal disposition fine as specified in Appendix A of the Regulations for Enforcement of Town Bylaws under MGL c. 40, § 21D. Any such fines shall be paid to the Town of Lexington.