New Hampshire

Let’s Ban Bags in New Hampshire!

Active | January 02 2019

Plastic Pollution

The New Hampshire Chapter is working with our Northeast Regional Manager to support the passage of a law that would ban thin film plastic checkout bags in New Hampshire and add a fee on paper bags.

HB559 and HB102 were introduced in 2019 to enable municipalities to regulate singe-use plastics and paper packaging. The bills were tabled pursuant to the outcomes of a statewide bag ban, HB560, which passed the House but then failed to pass the Senate (more below). 

Subsequently, the tabled enabling bills were taken off the table over the summer of 2019, and workshopped in a subcommittee of the House Municipal and Government Affairs Committee. Our Northeast Regional Manager attended most of the workshops and provided expert testimony. 

HB102 advanced favorably out of committee without a new public hearing as substantive changes were not made (see here for more details). The bill seeks to enable municipalities to regulate single-use plastic and paper bags.

The subcommittee moved HB559 forward as a renewed attempt at a statewide bag banAs this was a significant change, the bill came to hearing on November 5, 2019, and was passed favorably.

The proposed legislation then headed to the House floor for a vote on January 9, 2020, where it passed! It is now headed to the Senate for a TBD public hearing.

As proposed, the new HB559 would require that any bag greater in size than 150 square inches be a plastic bag made of recycled plastic that is at least 4 mils thick and sold for 10 cents per bag up or a paper bag that is 40 percent post-consumer recycled materials and sold for 10-cents each. The bill would set a maximum of 50 cents per plastic or paper bags per visit to the store. 

Stay tuned for more details when the next hearing is scheduled.

You can email to engage and be added to a listserv of New Hampshire residents working to reduce plastic pollution! 

HISTORIC ACCOUNT

Unfortunately, the New Hampshire Senate failed to pass HB560 in 2019. As the statewide effort to ban single-use bags failed, there remain continued actions to win explicit permission for New Hampshire towns to regulate single-use items, here.

HB560, which came to public hearing in the House at 11:30AM on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. We had a great showing of support, followed by all the false factual statements one can imagine leveraged by the plastics lobby. 

This bill would ban thin film plastic bags under 4 mils and require a 10-cent fee on all paper and 4 mil bags distributed at point of sale for certain businesses covered by the law.

POSITION: Support as amended

SPONSORS: Judith Spang (D), David Luneau (D), Chris Balch (D), Mel Myler (D), Martha Fuller Clark (D), David Watters (D)

ORIGINATING COMMITTEE: House Commerce and Consumer Affairs

-->Executive Session: 03/08/2019 01:30 pm LOB 302-304
-->Subcommittee Work Session: 03/08/2019 09:00 am LOB 302-304

The Committee that heard public testimony deliberated the bill and then voted it favorably along party lines, with Democrats for and Republicans against, recommending this bill for passage to the full House. The bill then passed the House on a vote of 201-145 on March 19, 2019, and then headed to the Senate for hearing! See how your NH House rep voted here, and consider sending a thanks or email of concern! 

The public hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee was held on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 2:15pm, and their vote on May 9, 2019 was not to recommend the bill for passage, despite the only voices speaking against passage were from a small handful of big $ lobbyists for the plastics industry and retailers, who support doing what they want instead of what NH residents want!

We asked supporters to call or email their NH State Senator and the Governor letting them know you supported HB560 and efforts toward mitigating plastic pollution from single-use plastic bags, and you want them to get behind the effort.

Find contact information for your electeds here or email for more info: mgates@surfrider.org.

HB560 was then replaced in its entirety on the Senate floor by SB79, a totally different bill that had previously been retained in House Committee against the Senate's wishes. SB79 was designed to encourage NH municipalities to take a hard look at their solid waste protocols and disposition by requiring them to report annually on the weight of all solid waste collected by the town, cataloging by type: those that were diverted to recycling and composting, and those sent to a landfill or incinerator.

The new bill (called HB560 but with SB79 language) was then remanded to House and Senate Committees, to be assigned to a Joint House/Senate Committee of Conference to hash out details. This means that House and Senate leaders from specific committees would have gotten together to look at the bills and make recommendations to the full General Court. However, the terms of the new bill were unsatisfactory to bill sponsors, and the House voted in non-concurrence, killing the bill rather than seeing it pass it a totally diluted form far from the original intents of the legislation.

We're not done advocating for good plastics policy in NH, and we hope you will keep fighting with us!

THANKS to all who have helped move the needle on this important issue in NH! We will keep the pressure on and will need your help to win! Please be sure to give a shout and get involved, today! 

Not sure what all the fuss is about plastic bags?! Click to view the latest version of Surfrider Foundation's Plastic Bag Toolkit for details. 

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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