Town of Georgetown, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Georgetown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-7-2018 ATM, Art. 19]
The production and use of single-use plastic bags have significant impacts on the environment of all communities, including but not limited to: contributing to the potential death of fish, fowl, animals and wildlife through ingestion and entanglement; contributing to pollution of the environment through improper disposal; clogging storm drainage systems; creating a burden to solid waste collection and recycling efforts; and requiring the use of millions of barrels of nonrenewable, polluting, fossil fuel for their manufacture. Therefore, the Town of Georgetown seeks to phase out the use of single-use plastic bags by all retail establishments, including restaurants providing take-out, doing business in Town over a period of 12 months from the effective date of this bylaw.
ESTABLISHMENT
Means any business selling goods, articles, food or personal services to the public, including restaurants.
REUSABLE BAG
Means a bag that is specifically designed for multiple use and is made of cloth, fabric or other durable materials.
SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS
Means bags made of plastic, with integral handles, and thickness less than 2.5 mils, that are intended to be used for the transport of products purchased at an establishment as defined herein.
A. 
Single-use plastic bags shall not be distributed or sold at any establishment within the Town of Georgetown effective September 1, 2018. Existing stock of single-use bags shall be phased out within 12 months after September 1, 2018; any stock remaining at the end of said 12 months shall be disposed of properly by the establishment. Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable shopping bags to stores.
B. 
Establishments may provide reusable bags at no charge, or charge a reasonable fee for each paper or other bag, as they desire. Establishments are strongly encouraged to make reusable bags available to customers at a reasonable price.
C. 
Thin-film plastic bags used by establishments to contain dry cleaning, newspapers, produce, meat, bulk foods, wet items, and other similar merchandise, typically without handles, are exempt from the provisions of this regulation.
A. 
This bylaw may be enforced by any Town police officer, enforcement officers or agents of the Board of Health. This bylaw may be enforced through any lawful means in law or in equity, including, but not limited to, noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D and Article II of Chapter 1 of the Town's General Bylaws. If noncriminal disposition is elected, then any establishment which violates any provision of this regulation shall be subject to the following penalties:
(1) 
First offense: written warning.
(2) 
Second offense: $50 fine.
(3) 
Third offense: $100 fine.
(4) 
Fourth and subsequent offenses: $300 fine.
B. 
Subsequent offenses shall be determined as offenses occurring within two years of the date of the first-noticed offense. Each day or portion thereof shall constitute a separate offense. If more than one, each condition violated shall constitute a separate offense.
[Adopted 5-7-2018 ATM, Art. 20]
This bylaw is enacted pursuant to the general police power in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town.
This bylaw shall take effect on September, 2018.
Expanded polystyrene food containers form a significant portion of the solid waste stream going into landfills. Local landfills are running out of room; our future solid waste may have to be transported hundreds of miles to a landfill at considerable cost. Expanded polystyrene food containers are not recyclable, nor are they biodegradable. Once buried in our landfills, they will persist for centuries. Polystyrene contains substances that when heated release toxic chemicals that may be carcinogenic. Appropriate alternative and sustainable products are readily available from the vendors used by local food establishments; cooperative bulk buying arrangements are possible. Thus, elimination of expanded polystyrene and plastic food containers is in the best interest of the health and welfare of Town inhabitants.
DISPOSABLE FOOD SERVICE CONTAINER
Means single-use disposable products for serving or transporting prepared, ready-to-consume food or beverages. This includes but is not limited to plates, cups, bowls, trays and hinged or lidded containers. This definition does not include single-use disposable items such as straws, cup lids, or utensils, nor does it include single-use disposable packaging for unprepared foods.
EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS)
Means polystyrene that has been expanded or blown using a gaseous blowing agent into a solid foam.
FOOD ESTABLISHMENT
Means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption, as further defined in 105 CMR 590.002. Any establishment requiring a permit to operate in accordance with the State Food Code, 105 CMR 590.000, et seq., shall be considered a food establishment for purposes of this bylaw.
POLYSTYRENE
Means expanded polystyrene which is a thermoplastic petrochemical material utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by any number of techniques, including, but not limited to, fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, form molding, and extrusion-blow molding (extruded foam polystyrene). The term "polystyrene" also includes clear or solid polystyrene which is known as "oriented polystyrene."
PREPARED FOOD
Means any food or beverage prepared for consumption on the food establishment's premises, using any cooking or food preparation technique. This does not include any raw uncooked meat, fish or eggs unless provided for consumption without further food preparation.
TOWN FACILITY
Means any building, structure, land or park owned or operated by the Town of Georgetown, its agents and departments.
TOWN FACILITY USERS
Means all persons, societies, associations, organizations or special event promoters who require a permission to use a Town facility. Town facility users also includes concession contracts with the Town, Town-managed concessions, Town-sponsored events and food services provided at the Town's expense.
A. 
Except as provided herein, food establishments are prohibited from dispensing prepared food to customers in disposable food service containers made from expanded polystyrene.
B. 
Town facility users are prohibited from dispensing prepared food to customers in disposable food service containers made from expanded polystyrene.
Upon written application, the Board of Health, which shall have the authority to enforce this bylaw, after a public hearing, may defer application of this bylaw for a food establishment for a one-year period, upon a showing by the food establishment that the conditions of this bylaw would cause undue hardship. For purposes of this bylaw, an "undue hardship" is a situation unique to the food establishment where there are no reasonable alternatives to the use of expanded polystyrene disposable food service containers and compliance with this provision would cause significant economic hardship to that food establishment.
A. 
This bylaw may be enforced by any Town police officer, enforcement officers or agents of the Board of Health. This regulation may be enforced through any lawful means in law or in equity, including, but not limited to, noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, and Article II of Chapter 1 of the Town's General Bylaws. If noncriminal disposition is elected, then any food establishment or Town facility user which violates any provision of this bylaw shall be subject to the following penalties:
(1) 
First offense: written warning.
(2) 
Second offense: $50 fine.
(3) 
Third offense: $100 fine.
(4) 
Fourth and subsequent offenses: $300 fine.
B. 
Subsequent offenses shall be determined as offenses occurring within two years of the date of the first-noticed offense. Each day or portion thereof shall constitute a separate offense. If more than one, each condition violated shall constitute a separate offense.