As most residents and local businesses are aware, the City of Ashland recently approved an ordinance relating to the use and distribution of bags for retail customers of local businesses. The ordinance goes into effect on November 6, 2014.
The objective of the ordinance and corresponding education and outreach is to substantially reduce the volume of end user consumption of single use plastic carry out bags and transition to the use of reusable bags as the standard practice. With many grocers in Ashland already eliminating plastic bags, the transition has actually been underway for some time.
To prepare for the implementation of the ordinance, materials have been developed to assist both businesses and consumers in making the transition away from plastic bags and towards reusable bags whenever and wherever possible.
The major elements of the new ordinance include:
Plastic bags (under 4 mil thickness) for customer use at the point of sale (checkout) will no longer be allowed.
To further encourage the transition to reusable bags, businesses are required to charge a ten cent ($0.10) fee for each paper bag used by the customer at checkout.
To mitigate the impacts on the use of paper bags, paper bags offered at checkout must contain at least 40% post consumer recycled content. (The $0.10 fee also helps businesses with potential higher costs for these bags)
Definitions and exemptions were also part of the ordinance and help both businesses and customers better understand what is and isnít allowed starting November 6th.
The City's Conservation Commission played a significant role in the development and successful approval of the ordinance by the City Council and remains committed to evaluate the success of the ordinance and look for other opportunities to reduce waste within Ashland.
Below are a collection of additional informational materials regarding the new regulations to assist in the hopefully smooth transition from plastic bags to reusable bags.