In Massachusetts, nearly 100 communities have taken action to reduce pollution by passing single-use plastic bag bans. Now, the state legislature has a chance to pass legislation that would create a cohesive, statewide law.
We testified last week before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in support of An Act reducing plastic bag pollution (H.771), which would significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic bags across the state.
Over 100 billion plastic shopping bags are consumed in the US each year, and while a small portion are reused or recycled, millions end up in landfills and along roadsides, in waterways, and floating in the ocean.
These single-use bags pose a threat to sea turtles, whales, and other marine animals that die from eating plastic bags they mistake for food. And because they are made from polyethylene, which is made from crude oil and natural gas, plastic bags deplete nonrenewable resources and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries across the globe have started getting serious about plastic bags – the UK, Bangladesh, China, and dozens of others have successfully banned or introduced a tax on disposable plastic bags.
Mass Audubon will continue to support communities in their local efforts, but it’s time for Massachusetts to take action at the statewide level to provide consistency for businesses and consumers.
You can help! Please email your state representative and ask them to support H.771. Let them know that we need a comprehensive, statewide policy to reduce single-use plastic bags and the pollution they cause in our oceans and waterways. Reducing the use of these bags statewide will contribute to a shift away from disposable, petroleum-based products.