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FRAMINGHAM – Time to brings those re-usable bags to the stores with you again.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MassDPH) rescinded on Friday, July 10, a ban on the use of reusable plastic bags.

The ban was implemented by the Department on March 25, 2020. It ordered retailers to ban the use of reusable plastic bags in their stores in order to comply with public health measures intended to combat the coronavirus. There was a concern by public health officials that reusable bags could spread the virus by staying on its surface and increase the chance of more infections.

The decision by MassDPH froze bans on single-use plastic bags in 139 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, including the City of Framingham and the Town of Ashland.

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Framingham’s plastic bag ban first came into effect on January 1, 2018. The ban stated that stores in Framingham would be prohibited to distribute or sell plastic bags with handles at the point of the sale.

The ban applied to all retail establishments that provides checkout bags to customers. Some of these establishments that were affected by the ban included grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and household goods stores.

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Judith Grove, former District 8 City Councilor and member of the Task Force that proposed the Framingham plastic bag ban back in 2018, said that she has “looked at the piles of bags that [she] has brought home in the last three months that I really hate bringing home.”

“I’m thrilled. I’ve hated, really hated, having to use plastic bags and paper bags,” said Grove. “It’s convinced me even more that reusable bags is what we should be doing. It’s not just for the sake of the environment, but it’s a lot easier to handle than paper and plastic bags, especially for seniors and the disabled. They’re so important for everyone.”

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The City of Framingham plastic bag reduction bylaw took effect on January 1, 2018.

Under the bylaw, thin-film single-use plastic bags with handles are prohibited from being distributed at checkout. Thin-film plastic bags used to contain the following merchandise, typically without handles, are still permissible:

  • Bulk Foods
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Meat
  • Newspapers
  • Produce
  • Wet Items

All retail establishments that provide a checkout bag to customers, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, household good stores, and other retailers must comply with this bylaw.

The bylaw does not affect restaurants.

This bylaw seeks to reduce the number of plastic bags that are distributed and promotes the use of reusable checkout bags