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Plastic Bag Ban Goes into Effect in Aug.

Jon Winkler jwinkler@nashobavalleyvoice.comMay 25, 2019

TOWNSEND — Of the many legal actions voted on by residents during the over five-hour Town Meeting, a surprising one came in the final minutes.

Effective Aug. 1, Townsend will ban thin-film single-use plastic bags from being sold or distributed at any retail or grocery store in town. Those types of bags will still be allowed to be used to hold dry cleaning, newspapers, produce, meat and bulk food. The ban is meant to lessen the bags’ negative impact on the environment

The main issue cited with thin-film plastic bags is how they aren’t biodegradable yet frequently disposed of.

Bags can be found in the ocean with fishes getting tangled in them or even choking on them. The bags can also clog storm drains and require barrels of crude oil to be made.

Andrew Shepherd, 24, was the local resident who put together the petition and presented it to the town during the meeting. Speaking over the phone last week, Shepherd said he came up with the petition nearly five days before the deadline for petitions on March 1.

“It came to me while I was shopping at Hannaford and I thought, ‘The town can do better with handling plastic bags,’” Shepherd said. “This is a big problem society is facing due to our actions that my generation is going to have to deal with.”

Shepherd said that he talked with residents and members of the town Board of Health while putting the petition together. He noted that some people had concerns, including how short the timeline was for the ban to go into effect and how effectively the town would enforce the ban.

“I think with the passage of this article, the townspeople have made a great note of caring for our environment,” he said.

Jon Winkler: jwinkler@nashoba valleyvoice.com

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