The new law prohibits grocers and other retailers located within town limits from distributing most types of disposable plastic bags to customers when the law goes into effect on March 1, 2011.
Bags excluded from the prohibition include those used within a store such as those for meat, vegetables and bulk items, prescription drug bags, newspaper bags, packaged multiple bags and reusable carryout bags. Beginning a few months prior to the plastic ban, on Jan. 1, 2011, both Clark’s Market and the Village Market must begin collecting a 10-cent per bag Advance Recovery Fee on the paper bags they give out. Per the ordinance, those bags must contain at least 40 percent recycled content with no old-growth fiber, and be 100 percent recyclable.
After March 1, retailers other than the town’s two grocery stores must distribute paper bags to their customers in lieu of plastic bags. However, the paper bags they distribute are no subject to recycled content or other requirements, and the ARF collection fee will be optional.
“We hope it allows people that live within the region, and people that visit the region, to realize the importance of taking every step possible in order to lower your carbon footprint,” said Mayor Stu Fraser. The bag ban comes on the footsteps of the award-winning, locally-produced film Bag It, whose creators advocate against the use of plastic bags.