Plastic Bag Bylaw Subcommittee

The Plastic Bag Bylaw Subcommittee was formed by the Pembroke Board of Health on July 23, 2018 for the purpose of drafting a bylaw to recommend to the Board of Health to bring to Town Meeting regarding a proposed prohibition on the use of single-use plastic carryout/checkout bags in the Town of Pembroke.

Some of the items for consideration by this subcommittee for inclusion in the article are:

Definitions:
  • should a single-use plastic carryout/checkout bag be defined as less that 3 millimeters thick or 4 millimeters thick?
  • should a recyclable paper bag be defined as a paper bag that is 100% recyclable and at least 40% post-consumer recycled content?
  • should a compostable plastic bag be defined as a bag that conforms to the current ASTM D6400 for compostability and ASTM D7081 for biodegradability in the marine environment? (see American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) international "Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics" D6400 and "Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment" D7801).
  • should a product bag definition contain specific exemptions such as loose produce, bulk items, unwrapped baked goods, food segregation bags (like meat or ice cream), or clothing covers such as dry cleaning bags?
Other proposed article considerations:
  • should a phase out period be allowed (i.e. six months from approval of the Attorney General) and/or should an economic hardship extension application provision for a retail establishment be allowed?

Board of Health member Gary Fine will act as the Board's liaison with this subcommittee. Updates will be provided to the Board at regularly scheduled meetings. The target goal of this subcommittee is to have a completed draft available for town counsel's review before the end of December for inclusion in the spring annual town meeting warrant. This will allow the Board of Health to hold public hearings in advance of town meeting (January to March) to hear public opinion on the article as drafted.