MA Senate Adopts Plastic Bag Ban & Expanded Bottle Bill

Contact Your Representatives in the House to Voice your Opinions on
The Plastic Bag Ban & Fee, And an Expanded Bottle Bill


Last week, the MA Senate passed legislation to address single use plastics in the Commonwealth, advancing S.2833, An Act to reduce plastics.  Central to the bill is a ban on all plastic carryout bags, and the imposition of a minimum $0.10 charge for recyclable paper bags, with $0.05 due to be remitted to the state. 
The Senate followed up this week with the passage of a climate bill that includes an expansion of the state’s Bottle Bill, raising the deposit from $0.05 to $0.10 per container, and expanding the deposit from just beer and soda to apply to most beverage containers.

The plastics bill does the following:

  • Bans plastic carryout bags
    • Provides allowances for common exemptions like pharmacy/prescription medication, bag used to protect items from damage/contamination, unwrapped food, to protect articles of clothing on a hanger, frozen food items, raw meat, uncooked seafood or similar products, etc.
    • Allows for use of recycled paper bag, or a reusable bag, defined as:
      • “Reusable bag”, a bag that: (i) is made of machine-washable cloth, fabric, hemp or other woven or non-woven fibers; (ii) has handles that are stitched with thread and not heat-fused; and (iii) is designed and manufactured for multiple uses; provided, however, that a “reusable bag” shall not include a bag made of plastic film of any thickness
    • Recycled paper bags allowed, customer must be charged not less that $0.10 per recycled paper bag
    • $0.05 per paper bag must be remitted by the retailer to the MA DOR to fund environmental protection efforts
    • Includes small business exemption threshold for those not wanting to charge a fee
  • “Food service ware”
    • Defined as disposable products used for serving or transporting foods or beverages for human consumption, including, but not limited to, plates, bowls, trays, cups, cartons, hinged or lidded containers, straws, stirrers, cup spill plugs, cup sleeves, condiments containers, utensils, etc.
    • A retailer shall not provide a customer with disposable food service ware unless requested by the customer
  • State preemption – Included:  A municipality shall not pass, adopt, promulgate or otherwise effectuate an ordinance, by-law or other rule or regulation inconsistent with this chapter.


The expansion of the Bottle Bill proposes to add the new $0.10 deposit onto most beverage containers, under these new definitions:
“Beverage”, any drinkable liquid intended for human oral consumption; provided, however, that “beverage” shall not include: (i) a drug regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, 21 U.S.C. 301 et seq; (ii) infant formula; (iii) a meal replacement liquid; or (iv) products for which the first ingredient is derived from animal milk.
“Beverage container”, an individual, separate, sealed glass, metal, plastic or multi-material bottle, can or jar designed to hold not more than 3.79 liters; provided, however, that “beverage container” shall not include any container: (i) of not more than 150 milliliters that contains no alcohol content; (ii) that is a carton or pouch; and (iii) that is aseptic.
Both bills now move to the MA House of Representatives.  All members are encouraged to contact their Representatives in the MA House to voice your concerns with these costly proposals!

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