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Council puts off action on bag ban after mayor trashes idea of 5-cent reusable-bag fee

The Boston City Council today kicked the issue of banning plastic bags at local stores into the next year.

Part of the proposal by City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) was to couple a ban on flimsy plastic bags with a 5-cent fee for replacement reusable plastic or paper bags.

But while he said evidence from other cities and towns shows that such measures work to clean up streets and cut trash-disposal fees and that "we have waited long enough" to do something about the bags, O'Malley agreed to shelve any action until 2017.

Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large), meanwhile, said residents of minority neighborhoods should take the time to get involved in the issue because their neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by plastic bags, empty food boxes and nip bottles. "I implore all of you to please participate," she said.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

Glad they left this issue to die (for now.) As the planes roared over my house repeatedly this morning, I wondered why the city council wastes so much time and effort on these piddling topics, rather than dealing with things that their constituents are actually upset about. (See above.)

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that air traffic routings are under the jurisdiction of the FAA, and NOT the Boston City Council.

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They routinely pass silly statements backing random national and international causes. How about a issuing a subpoena to the head of the FAA and then they can stamp their feet when he says he won't come? At least it would show me that they perhaps care about something that matters.

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you'd rather a useless symbolic gesture that will accomplish nothing instead of something that you don't feel strongly about but probably wont impact you in any negative way

yea that sounds like a much better use of time, agreed

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Every morning I get 2-3 overheads at 5:45 for a wakeup call...at least twice a week, I then get one every 1-2 minutes or so starting at 6 for the rest of the morning. Last I heard the FAA was 'studying the issue' due to pressure from lawmakers (I believe this was congressman Lynch though, not sure if the city council had much to do with it). That was back in October. Anyone want to wager on when or if any actionable results from the studies will happen?

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At a Boston City Council meeting? Probably never.

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I get the desire to do away with plastic bags but why does that have to be coupled with a fee for something that is already free?

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their neighborhoods are disproportionately affected

How does this make any sense?

Unless she means educating residents to not litter or that there's significant illegal dumping in her district?

Both issues which wouldn't be solved with a bag ban or tax.

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It probably refers to lack of cars/lack of parking/residents more dependent on doing their shopping via public transit or on foot. Just a guess.

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It might not happen in 2017, but like marijuana legalization this will eventually be common everywhere. We just have to wait until the older generations, who feel they are entitled to continue to cause unnecessary damage to the planet, have died off.

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the "older" generation remembers when there were no plastic bags, and everyone got along fine. This is not an age issue. But I agree that the change is inevitable and it is pointless for the mayor to veto the ordinance crafted by the City Council.

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.

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but I fully agree that it is largely my generation that is resisting this, including the business owners that have to change the way they have operated for decades. I'm fully on board with this proposal (already bring reusable bags) and other recycling efforts. Not all in my generation are opposed.

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"Back in the day..." paper bags were the norm but they did not have any handles. Paper "shopping bags" were an extra cost of you wanted handles. This meant that you could only carry 1-2 bags from the store and if you were on a bus or walking that was all you could carry each trip - if that. More than once I took a bus to the grocery store and had to take a taxi home due to a large order. Of course in those days there were plenty of local taxi companies you could actually phone and get someone in pretty short time.

No one carried re-usable bags. Those were usually made of leather or rubber and were not commonplace.

The proposed ordnance presumed, as noted in these threads, that you would be carrying your own re-usable bags to save on cost of buying bags or using paper. No one carries bags with them, but to be honest I actually do carry a couple in my coat pocket all bundled up but mostly to wrap my cell phone if its raining hard.

People determining that they wanted some groceries on the way home that did not plan ahead for that, would be penalized.

And let's face facts... everyone knows the quality of today's paper bags stinks. I tried going paper but the handles just don't hold up and I've lost plenty of groceries onto the street walking home. So now its "plastic" and I insist on heavy objects be double-bagged since the darn plastic handles, actually cut-outs in the bag itself, are also flimsy.

Also, the on-line survey that was advanced by the City was seriously flawed and one-sided. In many places where you wanted to say "no" there was no place to enter that and it was not a choice. You got flowery language with alternatives. The result? They could say no one said "no" in the survey. On-line surveys also precluded seniors that are not internet savvy or have (or want) access, as well as those who do not have it due to associated costs, so low-income people would also be precluded. This meant an elite grouping was advancing this agenda.

The real issue is not plastic bags. The issue is education of what to do with the plastic bags after you are done with them. I save mine and have two storage places in my home where I can just grab one when needed for something. I also have plenty of the newer re-usable ones as well, for use when I PLAN to go shopping. When I get too many, I put them into the recycle bin for collection by the city. If more people did that, then you would not have a plastic bag issue - or a perceived one.

Here we had a situation of attempting to regulate behavior due to a perceived "popular nuisance."

At the risk of starting a tangent debate here, the same goes for the whole gun control issue. People lack education on the proper handling and usage of guns so we seek to ban guns. Europeans like to go nude on the beach but instead of setting aside a place for that we ban nudity. Some cities tried to control obesity so they tried to ban large beverage cups.

People misuse knives but we do not ban those? People misuse autos (speed) but we do not ban autos (though we do reduce speed limits).

The same problem exists with the bags. People mishandle them and don't dispose fo them properly, so we go to the perceived root of the problem and try to ban ban plastic bags.

Bans are an easy way out of addressing the true problems. It eliminates spending time (and money) on a more-educated fix.

People make mistakes. Address the mistakes and educate them. Don't eliminate choices.

If the market demands paper or re-usable bags, plastic will be reduced on its own since it will no longer be in demand.

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Plastic bags should not be placed into recycling bins

https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/recycling-boston

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Every grocery store has a bin to recycle plastic bags, target does as well near customer service. Alternatively use as a trash bag given those are plastic either way.

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so i go to the store today and pay 5 cents for a bag , forget to carry the beloved bag everywhere i go , and end up paying again the next day , and a few more when i go grocery shopping .. so in a week i might rack up a hefty bill of $1 for bags and they are expected to be saved forever ? im not walking around with a pocket full of bags ... doesnt cambridge already do this ? theres still trash on the ground there ...

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"doesnt cambridge already do this ? theres still trash on the ground there ..."

Didn't the government outlaw murder? There are still people getting murdered. Better get rid of the law since it's obviously ineffective.

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are you retarded ? does giving smart-ass replies online give you a sense of pride ? its obviously 2 different things ... you seem to be forgetting the fact that this isnt YouTube .. its Uhub , which means chances are were not too far .. Dont speak unless your spoken to

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But I'm curious, so can you please elaborate on the Youtube vs Uhub comparison you made there?

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*we're
*you're

carry on.

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Though I stopped reading after the ugly ad hominem, I sure missed out on a nice helping of irony.

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*it's
*Don't

And a bunch of capitalization and spacing issues.

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If you need to resort to disability slurs, you need to stop.

Thanks.

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Still waiting for my tax decrease in Cambridge due to all the money they save not picking up plastic bags on the street.

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So you use 20 bags per 5 day work week, or 4 bags a day. Bring 4 bags to work with you every day and you should be all set. Reuse those bags and you are helping to keep roughly 996 bags a year out of the waste stream.

A thousand bags a year?

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so in a week i might rack up a hefty bill of $1 for bags and they are expected to be saved forever ?

You're expected to handle your affairs like a grownup. What, do you also think that the supermarket should provide a bag boy to carry your groceries home for you? You buy the stuff, and how you get it home is your business. Stores aren't obligated to give you any kind of bag, at all, and some don't. People have been solving this problem for generations, you know. In New York, many people own their own shopping cart to haul stuff home; if they don't, or if they don't want to drag it around with them, they take what they can carry. Other people carry their own reusable bags, and have for years; it's not really a new thing. Other people call a cab if they've got a lot of stuff to carry. There are many ways that grownups solve these problems. What grownups DON'T do is incessantly whine about how carrying one's own crap is such a burdensome thing. Taking care of your own stuff is part of being a grownup.

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It's the supermarket's job to decide if they want to give me a free bag or not.

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It's not a ban on plastic bags. It's a ban on free plastic bags.

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O'Malley wants to ban the very thin bags, the ones you see in better tree limbs in our finer neighborhoods. The 5-cent fee would be for thicker plastic bags.

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Oh right, we do and people take the plastic 99 times out of 100

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Most stores don't give you an option unless you *ask* Supermarkets typically do and package stores, but most small stores do not.

Many stores don't even have paper bags, like CVS. The cashiers just put stuff in plastic bags automatically. I'll bring a reusable bag with me (I hate cvs bags too small), plop it on the counter and I still get half my order put into a plastic bag until i say something.

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And it's actually a grocery store. Corporate had a big informational drive a few years ago, before Brookline and Cambridge banned the thin plastic bags to get the word out to all the cashiers and baggers...to always use the plastic bags unless the customer specifically asked otherwise. Paper bags were also to be kept hidden under the registers in hopes that most customers would think they were not an option and not ask.

Why?

In 2005 the cost (to the store) for one of those plastic bags was 4 cents (each bag). Paper bags without handles were 10 1/2 cents each. That jumped to 20 cents for the larger bags with the handles. Clearly businesses will go with the cheapest option in order to save money and increase profits. Even if the majority of customers prefer and bring reusable bags, the stores themselves will not stop offering the plastic bags for impluse shoppers until or unless it is not legal to do so.

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He's mentioned in the title, but not in the post.

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Please adopt us, our mayor is unconscious.

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Advocate for continuing the current President of Boston City Council... Councilor Michelle Wu
http://www.wbur.org/news/2016/01/04/michelle-wu-boston-city-council-pres...

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Oh, wait. Never mind.

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