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July 15, 2008



"Where do the bags go?" Why must they go anywhere? Businesses should reuse them rather than sending them out and buying more.

If sending them away for recycling is necessary, maybe the City should accept plastic bags in curbside recycling. Then residents wouldn't need to take the bags anywhere, and businesses wouldn't need to store them.

Many thanks to the Aldermen, for tackling this issue! Hopefully someday I'll be able to look out my window without seeing plastic bags blowing into my yard or hanging on nearby trees.


Next they need to BAN them. In Ireland they are TAXED and they have been
reduced by 90%. Here in the U.S they are thrown EVERYWHERE!
On the highways, in the trees, used diapers are placed in them and then
thrown in the gutters of East Somerville. In the parks, in the fields, in the
rivers, in the parking lots. I've noticed people use them in their cars to collect all their built up trash and then just chuck them out the windows!
Saves them from going to the carwashes to pay for the vacuums.
What kind of ANIMALS have people become? Time to BAN them.


I always get a chuckle when a go to the grocery store and they ask me if I want paper or plastic. I always say "Give me the plastic as I am just going to fling it out the window when they're empty." Of course I am joking, but you should see the pained looks people cop before I have to yell at them "Imbeciles, I am just joking!"

I think Grog is on the right track and just ban the damn things. Paper bags are fine and why burden small businesses with having to figure out a way to dispose of them? Also, the more I think about it the more it becomes clear that this is just another not-completely-thought-out idea by Rebeccah. She has no idea how stores are going to "recycle" the bags - just that people will drop them off. If I owned a retail store (I don't - not enough $$$ in it) - and the city does not state how I am to dispose of the bags - then I would collect the bags and just toss them out in the trash. I bet will most do exactly that.

Rebeccah needs to meet a good man to show her that women are to be seen not heard.

Corn Starch

I know that JN doesn't like links put here but I think that this one is worth it.

There are a whole host of items that we can urge people to use throuout the city. See below;


Supermarkets already recycle plastic bags. That hasn't stopped some from throwing them out in the streets, and I don't think this will, either. Those people who didn't recycle them before, still won't. And a good question is, if they are so easy to recycle, and it's not 'onerous', why doesn't the city accept them in the recycle bins? Perhaps someone should have asked that question on the BOA. Also, for those of us who don't have any idea, about how large is 5,000 feet? Can someone give me an example of a store or stores which would meet this requirement?


Just ban the bags. They serve almost no purpose.

Ron Newman

I wish the Boston Globe would stop delivering the morning paper in a plastic bag (and sometimes two) each morning. Between the Globe, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal, at least ten unneeded plastic bags are delivered to our (always dry) apartment building lobby each day.


We recently started buying the green fabric shopping bags at DeMoulas and Star and use them now almost exclusively. They cost about $1 apiece and work great, once you get used to (or REMEMBER to) bring them with you.

We used to bring the plastic bags down to the recycle barrel at the Porter Sq. Star. When I was a kid, we had this big mint green vinyl bag that we brought over to Haymarket to carry our fruit and produce in--I don't ever recall us even using individual paper bags for that.

On a somewhat related note; we recently got one of those compost tumblers and toss all of the vegetable peels and skins, rinds, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc. into it. So far it seems to be working as advertised. No odors and only a few small fruit flies to contend with when you open the hatch to put stuff in it. I tried a regular compost pile but found it was too much bother and it seemed to attract small animals. The tumbler was kind of pricey, but it takes up little room.

Doing this, along with the curbside recycling we've been doing all along, has reduced our actual volume of discarded items to a relatively low amount and has made me see what really constitutes the "trash" going out to the curb on Tuesday morning; it's mainly those plastic bags that the newspaper comes in that Ron Newman mentioned, as well as the styrofoam trays that some produce and most meats get wrapped in. The end result is that for 5 adults, we usually end up with less than a single barrel of net refuse for the week, and even that weighs less than 15-20 lbs. in most cases. The little things do, indeed, add up.

With all that said, I'm reluctant to codify the elimination of plastic bags, preferring instead to let the market do it. When enough merchants get enough requests to do something, sooner or later, someone's going to figure it out.


Somerville n00b

Same here. I just bring those bags with me. They work great. About time.


You're right, as usual, JAR! Unfortunately we have a government today that needs to validate its' existence by trying to codify everything! It's not the job of the government to control your daily life.


general question: is this limited to grocery stores only? or are all stores (like marshall's target, kmart, etc.) included in the plastic bag recycling?


I believe it applies to any store over 5,000 feet.


not sure if anyone else has encountered this problem, but I notice alot of the Shaw's Supermarket locations (not necessarily somerville locations) have signs at the entrance stating that "they don't accept plastic bags for recycling", yet they shove your groceries into thin, plastic bags that break as soon as you pick them up, even though there's nothing more than a loaf of bread in them.

Should be interesting to see if these stores actually comply. I'm thinking of the Twin City Plaza locations who may actually claim they're in cambridge, as opposed to somerville...


i can see the globe, herald and ny times delivering their papers in plastic bags when its wet/rainy/snowy out..


The reusable green bags sold at Stop & Shop and Shaws are great. They hold more items, they stand up when you set them down to open your door, they are easier to carry, and the handles are long enough so that you can put them on your shoulder.

I believe that any grocery store of 5,000 sq. ft already provides a barrel for the dropoff of these bags. Your local convenience store is not 5,000 sq. ft., but it wouldn't hurt them to accept the bags if they give them out. Now, as Lori mentioned, that leaves the department stores to step up and do their part, too.


I recently received and advertisement in with the Sunday coupons in the globe that states that stop & shop takes "5 cents off your order" for each time you reuse a sack.
5 cents may not be much, but it does add up.
Roche brothers has been doing that for years...

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