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Brookline, Mass., residents vote to ban plastic bags and PS containers

By: Mike Verespej

November 15, 2012

BROOKLINE, MASS. (Updated Nov. 15, 10:40 a.m. ET) — Brookline has become the 85th community in the United States — and the 47th this year — to ban single-use plastic bags.

The town of roughly 60,000 just west of Boston now has bans on both plastic bags as well as all polystyrene-based food and beverage containers. The bans were passed a day apart, with the plastic bag ban adopted on Nov. 14 and the PS ban adopted by Nov. 13. Both go into effect Dec. 1, 2013.

The ban applies to supermarkets with sales in excess of $1 million, pharmacies with two locations under the same ownership in the city, and retailers with 2,500 square feet of space, or three locations in the city that combined have 2,500 square feet or more.

It does not apply to plastic bags that are compostable or marine degradable, or bags used to package produce.

Altogether, 85 U.S. communities have plastic bags bans, including three of the 14 largest and five of the 29 largest cities in the United States: San Francisco, San Jose, Calif.; Austin, Texas, Seattle and Portland, Ore. In addition, Los Angeles—the nation’s second-largest city with a population of 4 million—this summer set in motion a plan to ban single-use plastic bags.

More than half of the plastic bag bans in the United States — 47 — have been enacted this year. In addition, three communities — Aspen, Colo.; Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. — have fees on plastic carryout bags, with Boulder set to become the fourth after a second vote Nov. 15