As you may know, at the May 2018 Town Meeting, a by-law that bans the distribution of single use plastic bagsin Longmeadow was approved. The by-law was subsequently approved by the Attorney General and went into effect on August 6, 2019.
Once the by-law is in full effect, businesses in Longmeadow will no longer be able stock plastic bags with handles, commonly known as “checkout bags.” They will only be allowed to give customers reusable bags, recyclable paper bags, or compostable bags with handles, which are generally discouraged until a viable, town-wide composting program is in place. The ban does not include bags for newspapers, used to wrap produce, frozen food, meat or fish, for laundry/dry-cleaning, and trash can liners. Enforcement will be done by the Health Department, which will conduct bi-annual inspections on the same schedule as food safety inspections or when a complaint has been received. Violations will include a warning for the first, a $25 fine for the second, and a $50for any subsequent ones.
Businesses may apply for an exemption by submitting a request for a waiver of up to six months to achieve compliance because of undue economic hardship. Businesses are strongly encouraged to search for environmentally friendly bags without handles well in advance of the effective date but should not throw away the existing inventory. For example, non-customized plastic bags that are subject to this bylaw could be provided to businesses in other communities that have not yet enacted bans