Haverhill, MA heaves out single-use plastic bag habit

Victory | August 14 2018

Plastic Pollution

The Massachusetts chapter worked with local activists to help the city of Haverhill ban single-use plastic bags.

The proposed ordinance in Haverhill would have banned thin-film single-use plastic bags under 3 ml thickness and add a fee on all recycled paper, reusable and other bags given at point of sale for stores over 3,000 square feet.

The chapter advocated for a wider purview to incorporate all establishments in Haverhill, regardless of size, to remove the exemption for compostable bags, and to tighten the definition of "reusable bag" to exclude plastic bags that are thicker than 3 ml. Still, the way this ordinance is positioned incentivizes reusable bags as it would ban thin-film plastic checkout bags under 3 ml and require a charge of 5-cents for all other checkout bags. The impetus behind requesting the tighter definition is to set the best possible precedent for other towns and cities to follow, as decision-makers may or may not retain the other critical element of a charge on paper and reusable bags to make sure good policy passes. 


The Council amended the proposed ordinance on August 7, 2018 to increase the 3.0 ml thickness to 4.0, and remove the compostable exemption. Mayor James J. Fiorentini then signed the ordinance into law on August 14, 2018.

Email the MA Chapter's volunteer campaign coordinator, Alex Vai, for more information on how to get involved in plastic pollution mitigation in Massachusetts.

Another important way to support our work is to join or renew your Surfrider Foundation membership, and come get active with our chapter! Email our chair for information on monthly meetings and other ways to engage.

Plastic Pollution

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

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