Cambridge Residents Encouraged to Bring Reusable Bags when Shopping Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance goes into effect on March 31, 2016

The purpose of the Ordinance is to reduce the use of disposable checkout bags by retail establishments to protect the marine environment, advance solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect waterways. The Ordinance seeks to promote the use of reusable checkout bags. Residents may donate reusable bags at City Hall, Public Works, or the North Cambridge Senior Center as part of DPW’s Reusable Bag Drive to help low income and elderly residents receive bags. Bags exempt from the Ordinance include produce bags, laundry, dry-cleaner and newspaper bags, and bags used to wrap meat or frozen foods.

“This ordinance is important not only from the perspective of reducing damaging materials being discharged into our rivers and oceans,” said Cambridge Public Works Commissioner Owen O’Riordan, “but we also hope it will be successful in changing people’s behavior to help improve the  cleanliness of our streets and sidewalks and reduce the amount of waste in landfills.”

Cambridge businesses will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic bags, but may offer paper, reusable, or compostable bags to customers at a minimum cost of $0.10 per bag. Businesses must show this as the “Checkout Bag Charge” on the receipt and collect sales tax on each bag.

To avoid this charge, customers are encouraged to bring their own bag when they go shopping, out for food, to the pharmacy, and more.

Cambridge Public Works is continuing with successful outreach to businesses to inform and prepare them for the ordinance. Many businesses are excited to implement this ordinance to help the City with its waste reduction goals.
Learn more about the BYOB Ordinance and find helpful information for businesses and residents at www.CambridgeMA.gov/BYOB.