Plastic bag ban to take effect September 10

Sep 7, 2019

Dartmouth retailers are gearing up to make changes as a plastic bag ban approved at last year’s spring Town Meeting is set to take effect starting September 10.

The newly enacted town bylaw bans plastic bags with a thickness of less than 1.0 millimeters, defined as “thin-film plastic bags”.

This ban applies to all retail stores, wholesale stores and restaurants with a floor area of at least 5,000 square feet located in the town of Dartmouth.

Select Board member David Tatelbaum, who also owns Big Value on Dartmouth Street, said that the store plans to start operating without the single-use plastic bags from Monday, September 9.

Big Value will increase the number of boxes it already offers at the front of the store to help customers carry items to their cars, and will also offer a number of other options.

“I wasn’t really interested in trading paper for plastic or using thicker plastic bags,” Tatelbaum said. “That’s not solving the problem.”

Tatelbaum’s store will offer paper bags for ten cents each and will donate all proceeds to Gifts to Give, a charity in Acushnet, as well as selling reusable heavy mesh bags and only using thicker plastic for very large items.

“The idea is, it’s an incentive to not spend money, to encourage the use of reusable bags,” he said. “Large chains, their solution is just to use thicker plastic. And that’s somewhat reusable, but it doesn’t solve the problem, which is changing behavior at the point of sale.”

Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes said that the town plans to do periodic checks on stores at random to ensure compliance with the new bylaw.

He added that he believes enforcement will not be an issue. “If people aren’t adhering to the law, we’ll hear about it,” MacInnes said.