The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (ENRA) of the Massachusetts Legislature has scheduled a public hearing for a group of bills including An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (H.771/S.462). The hearing is scheduled to start at 1PM on 2 April 2019 in Room A-2 of the State House in Boston.

For more information about this bill, including why we support it, please check out our updated Fact Sheet or earlier blog post!

An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution is one of strongest and most comprehensive measures yet proposed to incentivize reusable bags and reduce pollution from disposable plastic carryout bags. As such, advancing this measure as currently written is a key legislative priority for the Surfrider Foundation Massachusetts Chapter this session.

In the previous legislative session (2017-2018), a similar bag bill was reported out favorably by this committee, but only after being weakened through removal of the minimum bag charge.

The Surfrider Foundation’s experience with plastic bag reduction initiatives shows that ban-only solutions can often cause consumers to shift from one disposable item to another in a potentially counterproductive way. Since the goal is to establish a widespread culture of reuse, environmentally sound bag policies must include a mechanism – like a minimum charge – that actively and effectively promotes positive changes in consumer behavior.

Our current goal is to ensure that H.771 and S.462 are reported out favorably by the ENRA committee as they currently stand, without being substantively changed or weakened. Here are a few specific ways that you can help right now!

  1. Ask your own state legislators to advocate for the ENRA committee to report favorably on An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution (H.771/S.462), including the minimum bag charge, as soon as possible. If you’re not sure who your elected officials are, you can look them up using your address.
  2. Attend the public ENRA hearing at 1 PM on 2 April 2019 in Room A-2 at the State House in Boston. Please wear or bring something GREEN to show your support for the passage of H.771 and S.462!
  3. If you do attend the hearing, do be prepared for the room to be a bit hot and stuffy. There is also a lot of other business in the hearing, so we may need to wait a while before the bag bill comes up. Don’t feel any pressure to testify, and know that just your presence, wearing green, will be a big boost for our efforts to pass An Act Reducing Plastic Bag Pollution.
  4. Help us spread the word about the bag bill and the upcoming hearing by sharing this post throughout your own network!

As always, to find out more or to learn how you can help, please get in touch with our Massachusetts Campaigns Coordinator.

Want to learn more about the problem with single-use plastics, including plastic bags? Check out the information here!