Globe Local


Newton considers tightening shopping bag regulations

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/File

Disposable plastic checkout bags would be eliminated at retail establishments in Newton, and customers would be charged a fee to use a paper or reusable bag under a proposal being considered by the City Council.

The proposed changes would prohibit the use of disposable plastic bags at restaurants, food or ice cream trucks, convenience stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, as well as seasonal and temporary businesses, according to a draft of the measure.

If retailers offer paper or reusable checkout bags to customers, they must charge at least 10 cents for each bag, according to the draft.


Newton’s existing rules prohibit the use of disposable plastic bags by retail establishments that operate at least 3,500 square feet of space. The new version would apply to any retail establishment, according to Councilor-at-large Alison M. Leary.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The proposed measure also includes a description of what constitutes a reusable checkout bag: Each would have to be a sewn bag made of cloth, fabric, or plastic that is “durable, non-toxic, and generally considered a food-grade material,” with stitched handles that can carry 25 pounds over a distance of 300 feet.

Such bags could not be made out of polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride, according to the proposal.

Leary has said she wants to encourage people to bring their own bags when they shop.

City councilors are expected to vote on the regulation during their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, starting at 7:45 p.m. in the City Council chamber at Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.


There are 92 Massachusetts cities and towns that have imposed regulations limiting or banning plastic bags, according to Brad Verter, the founder of Mass Green Network.

John Hilliard can be reached at