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Town of Plainville, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Plainville 6-3-2019 ATM by Art. 23. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
The production and use of thin-film single-use plastic check-out bags have significant impacts on the environment, including, but not limited to: contributing to the death of marine animals through ingestion and entanglement, contributing to the pollution of land environment, creating a burden to recycling facilities, clogging storm drains, and requiring millions of barrels of crude oil nationally for their manufacture. Plastic bags do not biodegrade; instead they turn into micro-plastics displacing lower food sources ingested by a wide range of marine animals. By displacing lower food sources micro-plastics are entering into the food chain, including our own.
B. 
The purpose of this bylaw is to reduce the number of thin-film single-use plastic check-out bags and paper bags and to promote the use of reusable bags in Plainville.
The following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
CHECK-OUT BAG
A bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale. Check-out 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 check out area of the store.
DEPARTMENT
The Plainville Health Department.
HEALTH AGENT
The Health Agent for the Plainville Board of Health or his/her designee.
RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG
A paper bag that is 100% recyclable and contains at least 40% post-consumer recycled content, and displays in a visible manner on the outside of the bag (1) the word "recyclable" or a symbol identifying the bag as recyclable and (2) a label identifying the bag as being made from post-consumer recycled content and the percentage of post-consumer recycled content in the bag.
RETAIL ESTABLISHMENT
Any business facility that sells goods directly to the consumer whether for or not for profit, including, but not limited to, retail stores, restaurants, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores, liquor stores, seasonal and temporary businesses.
REUSABLE CHECK-OUT BAG
A sewn bag with stitched handles that is specifically designed for multiple reuse and that:
A. 
Can carry 25 pounds over a distance of 300 feet;
B. 
Is machine washable; and
C. 
Is either:
(1) 
Made of natural fibers (such as cotton or linen); or
(2) 
Made of durable, non-toxic plastic other than polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride that is generally considered a food-grade material that is more than four mils thick.
THIN-FILM, SINGLE-USE PLASTIC CHECK-OUT BAGS
Those bags typically with handles, constructed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or polypropylene (other than woven and non-woven polypropylene fabric), if said film is less than 4.0 mils in thickness.
A. 
No retail establishment in the Town of Plainville shall provide thin-film single-use plastic check-out bags to customers.
B. 
If a retail establishment provides or sells check-out bags to customers, the bags must be one of the following:
(1) 
Recyclable paper bag; or
(2) 
Reusable check-out bag.
C. 
Retail establishments with a floor area equal to or exceeding 3,500 square feet or with at least two locations under the same name within the Town of Plainville that total 3,500 square feet or more, that make available thin-film, single-use plastic check-out bags, with or without handles, that are exempted under this bylaw, are required to provide for in-store collection and proper recycling of returned thin-film, single-use plastic check-out bags. Retail establishments with a floor area less than 3,500 square feet that make available thin-film, single-use plastic check-out bags, with or without handles, exempted under this bylaw, are required to provide for in-store collection and are required to properly recycle collected thin-film, single-use plastic check-out bags if an in-town drop off location or other no-fee option is available. In-store collection locations must be prominently displayed and easily accessible.
Thin-film plastic bags typically without handles which are used to contain newspapers, produce, meat, bulk foods, wet items, dry cleaning, and other similar merchandise are not prohibited under this bylaw.
A. 
The Board of Health and its Health Agent shall have the authority to administer and enforce this bylaw.
B. 
For the first violation, the enforcing authority, upon a determination that a violation has occurred, shall issue a written warning notice to the establishment specifying the violation.
C. 
The following penalties shall apply:
(1) 
A fine of $50 shall apply for the first violation following the issuance of a written warning notice.
(2) 
A fine of $100 shall apply for the second violation and each additional violation of this bylaw after the issuance of a written warning notice.
D. 
Fines shall be cumulative and each day on which a violation occurs shall constitute a separate offense.
This bylaw shall take effect six months following the effective date of approval by the Attorney General for retail establishments with a floor area equal to or exceeding 3,500 square feet or with at least two locations under the same name within the Town of Plainville that total 3,500 square feet or more. This bylaw shall take effect one year following the effective date of approval of the Attorney General for retail establishments less than 3,500 square feet. The Health Agent may exempt a retail establishment from the requirements of this section for a period of up to six months upon a finding by the Health Agent that (1) the requirements of this section would cause undue hardship; or (2) a retail establishment requires additional time in order to draw down an existing inventory of thin-film, single-use check-out plastic bags.
The Board of Health may adopt and amend rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this bylaw.
If any provision of this bylaw is declared invalid or unenforceable the other provisions shall not be affected thereby.