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“BAN THE BAGS!” at October Town Meeting

Tucker Smith


The purpose of this column is to promote sustainable solutions and practical steps to create a healthier and more resilient Milton. Advocating for town-wide projects and programs in the face of global climate change is at the heart of this mission. The column title is a tribute to the late Martha “Marty” Curtis who brought “Conversationally Speaking” to Milton Times readers for so many years. Kudos to Milton’s Board of Selectmen!  Why?  Because members drafted a Warrant Article “To see if the Town will vote to amend the General Bylaws by adopting a new by law entitled ‘Plastic Bag Ban’ to help protect the environment from plastic pollution…”  It has been incorporated into the official Town Warrant as Article XII (12) at Fall Town Meeting,commencing October 22. Residents, inform your precinct’s TM members: they have the opportunity to pass Article XII with consequences of local and planetary benefit.  Ask them to BAN THE BAGS!

Article XII states that the purpose of this proposed bylaw is “to protect the town’s natural beauty and natural resources and the health and quality of life of its residents by reducing the number of single-use, plastic check-out bags that are distributed in the Town of Milton and by promoting the use of reusable bags.”  Milton has abundant natural beauty, being bordered by both The Neponset River and The Blue Hills Reservation.  The beauty and ecological health of these historic natural assets are diminished when strewn with dirty, shredded plastic bags – evidenced by large quantities collected during Nep RWA’s September 22 clean up.

As of August 2018, 81 municipalities passed legislation banning single-use plastic bags, representing over 40% of the Commonwealth’s population [Source: Sierra Club MA], including Boston, Cambridge, and Framingham, with extra-large retail footprints.  “We fully support it,” said local retailer Michael Mignosa, Director, Fruit Center Marketplace (E. Milton Square/Hingham Harbor).  Not only that,he and Marketing Director, Michael Dwyer, will phase out plastic straws,utensils, and certain take-out containers in stores.  Finding appropriate substitutes has been both challenging and educational.  “It’s complicated!” Mr. Mignosa said, partly because each town mandates its own standards but, “It’s the right thing to do.”

It is the right thing to do. Plastics are made from fossil fuels, especially natural gas; their micro-particles are found globally in water bodies and inside wildlife (not to mention human innards) [Sources: www.thesca.org and www.nerc.org ]. Hillary Waite, Milton DPW’s Environmental Coordinator, compiled a “Myths vs. Facts” checklist about plastic bags and found them to be one of the most common roadside litter items, along with cigarette butts and alcohol “nips.”  They snag in storm drains, streams, and trees.  They are NOT recyclable at the curbside and can stall machinery in recycling plants when put into the waste stream.  They can pose suffocation threats to humans and wildlife.  And more.  It should be a no-brainer: vote to approve Warrant Article XII and BAN THE BAGS!   ‍Sustainable Milton aims to create a community that acts to preserve our whole ecosystem.  It:raises awareness; educates and motivates residents, town government and businesses to reduce waste of all forms; and endeavors to create a healthy,vibrant future for all.  Click “JOIN” at www.sustainablemilton.org

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11 Standish Rd
Milton, Ma 02186

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