Action alert: Bag ban needs amendment

January 1, 2020

Late last year, at a time when governments everywhere were working on solutions to the worldwide climate emergency, the Quincy City Council took a vote that will only worsen the situation.

The problem: The city’s new ban on single-use plastic bags, as currently worded, will drive consumers towards paper bags, whose manufacture results in four times as much greenhouse gas pollution as that of single-use plastic bags.

The good news: The ban doesn’t take effect until March 1, so it’s not too late for the city to revise the plastic bag ordinance.

The solution: If the city put a modest five- or ten-cent charge on paper bags, it would encourage the use of multi-use cloth or plastic bags, which cause less pollution — and less trash and litter — than either single-use plastic or paper bags.

How you can help: The only way to turn back this unfortunate decision is a big response from citizens. Please voice your concerns by emailing or calling your ward councilor and all three at-large councilors. Ask them to amend the plastic bag ordinance to include a modest charge on paper bags. To minimize the damage, ask them to do it before March 1, when the ban takes effect. For your convenience, we’re pasting in a sample letter below this message.

Another way to help: Please pass this message on to Quincy friends and relatives. Only a massive response will get the councilors’ attention.

For more information on the plastic bag ordinance, see QCAN’s letter to the Quincy Sun.

Best wishes for a greener 2020,
David Reich
Board Chair, Quincy Climate Action Network


Dear Councilor,
I agree with QCAN that Quincy’s plastic bag ban ordinance will exacerbate greenhouse gas pollution by driving consumers towards paper bags instead of multi-use cloth or plastic bags. I urge you to amend the ordinance before the first of March by adding a modest charge for paper bags, the way Boston and Cambridge and the entire states of Vermont and Maine have already done.
In doing so, you will not only help reduce greenhouse gas pollution but also to keep a lid on grocery prices and reduce the city’s bills for recycling and trash collection.
Best wishes,