Boston Plastic Bag Ban & Mandatory $0.05 Fee,

Now Less than 3 Months Away

Are you ready?


The City of Boston’s plastic bag ban ordinance, passed in early December of 2017, is set to take effect on December 14, 2018.

The ordinance states that any “checkout bags” provided by retailers to customers must be a reusable bag, a recyclable paper bag, or a compostable plastic bag.  Retailers MUST charge a minimum five cents ($0.05) per checkout bag, with the retailer keeping all bag charge fees collected.  The charge must be separately stated on the sales receipt provided to the customer at the time of purchase and listed as the "checkout bag charge.”

Click here for a copy of the ordinance, definitions and specifications of allowable checkout bags, exemptions, and forthcoming guidance materials from the City. 

The ban applies to all retail establishments that sell or provide merchandise, goods or materials directly to a customer, including but not limited to restaurants, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores, liquor stores, seasonal and temporary businesses, jewelry stores, and household goods stores.

The ordinance does allow for a retailer to apply to the City for a temporary exemption from compliance due to an “undue hardship,” such as the need for additional time to draw down an existing inventory of single-use plastic checkout bags that are prohibited by the ordinance.  Guidance on the process to apply for that exemption is also expected to be posted to the City’s website shortly.  

RAM will continue to work with the City as the ordinance is implemented to ensure that all members needs and interests are addressed.  Please contact RAM Vice President, Bill Rennie, [email protected], with any questions or comments.