[Adopted 5-6-2019 ATM, Art. 20]
The Town of Brewster makes the following findings:
The production and use of thin-film, single-use plastic bags ("thin-film bags") results in harm to the land, environment and waterways of coastal communities like Brewster, including but not limited to:
The deaths of marine and land animals by ingestion and entanglement.
Littering Town streets, parks, public spaces and waterways which detracts from the natural beauty of the Town.
Creating mechanical and disposal burdens for solid waste collection and recycling through entanglement with equipment.
Thin-film bag manufacturing requires nonrenewable fossil fuels.
Most thin-film plastic bags are not recycled even when users have access to recycling opportunities.
Thin-film bags are not biodegradable or compostable. Affordable, environmentally responsible alternatives to thin-film bags exist, including reusable shopping bags of cloth or other durable material, and are available from numerous sources and vendors.
Tourism is vital to Brewster's economy and thin-film bag use and litter detracts from the Town's image as an eco-tourism destination.
Thirteen of 15 Barnstable County towns have already instituted thin-film bag bans; as have nearly 90 municipalities across the commonwealth.
Many consumers, as well as Brewster retail establishments, have already stopped using thin-film bags.
Thin-film plastic bag regulations have proven effective in reducing plastic bag consumption and litter and are part of the growing trend toward sustainability.
Brewster is committed to protecting the environment, and the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
The purposes of this bylaw are to protect and conserve Brewster's natural and economic resources, enhance the Town's natural beauty, reduce land and marine pollution, advance solid waste reduction, and encourage the use of reusable and recyclable bags within the Town. Therefore, the Town of Brewster will implement this bylaw to phase out the use of thin-film plastic bags by all Brewster business establishments by June 1, 2020.
- Any business selling goods, articles, food or personal services to the public, including but not limited to markets, merchandise retailers, food purveyors, public eating establishments, and take out restaurants.
- RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG
- A paper bag with or without handles provided at the checkout stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure for the purpose of transporting food or merchandise from the establishment. The bag:
- REUSABLE BAG
- A bag with stitched handles specifically designed for multiple reuse, and is made of:
- A. Cloth or other machine-washable fabric;
- B. Durable, non-toxic plastic (other than polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride) that is four mils [NOTE: Plastic sheeting is measured in mils; a mil is equal to one one-thousandth of an inch, or 0.001 inch. One mil also equals 0.0254 millimeter; thus a mil is not the same as a millimeter.] or more thick, 100 microns or more thick, or 100 GSM [NOTE: GSM (Grams per Square Meter) is a measure of material durability.] or more; or
- C. Other durable material suitable for reuse.
- THIN-FILM (SINGLE-USE) BAG
- Plastic bags provided at the checkout stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure for the purpose of transporting food or merchandise from the establishment; has integral handles and a thickness of less than 4.0 mils.
Thin-film (single-use) plastic bags shall not be distributed or sold at any establishment within the Town of Brewster.
Existing stock of thin-film bags shall be phased out by June 1, 2020.
Establishments may only offer reusable bags or recyclable paper bags to customers at the check-out or point of sale.
Establishments may charge and retain a fee for any recyclable paper bag or reusable bag they offer.
Establishments are strongly encouraged to educate their staff to promote reusable bags, and to encourage customers to use reusable bags.
Nothing in this bylaw prohibits customers from using bags or other containers brought by the customer to the establishment; customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags.
The following are exempt and not subject to the provisions of this bylaw:
Dry cleaning bags or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for home use, including but not limited to Pay-As-You-Throw bags.
This bylaw shall take effect 12 months after adoption and in accord with MGL c. 40, § 32.
The Select Board or its designee may grant a deferment from compliance with this bylaw for a period of not more than six months upon the establishment's showing, in writing, that strict compliance with this bylaw would create an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other establishments in similar circumstances. The decision to grant or deny an exemption shall be at the Select Board's sole discretion, in writing, and the decision will be final.
This bylaw may be enforced by any means available in law or in equity, including noncriminal disposition in accordance with § 135-11.
This bylaw shall be enforced by any Town police officer or agent of the Board of Health.
Any enforcing person shall have the right to enter any public areas of an establishment during regular business hours, without a search or inspection warrant, to make reasonable inspection to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this bylaw.
Any establishment that violates or fails to comply with this bylaw shall be subject to the following penalties pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D. Each day the violation exists shall constitute a separate violation.
Subsequent offenses shall be determined as offenses occurring within two years of the date of the first noticed offense.
Each section of this bylaw shall be construed as separate to the end that if any section, sentence, clause or phrase shall be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this bylaw shall remain in full force.