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Worcester Plastic Bag Ban Awaits Council’s Final Approval

The Worcester City Council is likely to grant final approval to the proposed ban on single-use plastic bags in its meeting scheduled to be held on October 15, 2019. The ban proposal had received unanimous approval of the Council during the preliminary voting held in September.

If finally approved, the ban will go into effect on April 1, 2020. However, city manager could grant extension to businesses to get rid of their plastic bag inventory, if they can prove “undue hardship”.

The ban would prohibit stores from offering carryout plastic bags. The law would not ban use of plastic bags for prescription medication, produce, meat, poultry and other food items, including fish and bread, to keep them from spoiling. The decisions, such as whether to charge or how much to charge customers for alternative paper or compostable shopping bags, will be vested with the retailers.

The first violation of the bag ban would be hit with a penalty of $50. The penalty will increase to a maximum of $300 for repeated violations. The fines will come into effect in July 2020.

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