STATEMENT: State Senate passes bill to reduce plastic use, waste in Massachusetts

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Landmark legislation headed to House for approval

BOSTON — As Bay Staters celebrate the Celtics 18th NBA championship with a parade Friday, they have another big reason to cheer: The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday passed the most comprehensive plastics reduction bill  in its history. The legislation, championed by Sen. Becca Rausch and Sen. Jamie Eldridge, puts in place a statewide plastic bag ban; limits single-use food service ware such as straws, cups and cutlery; and codifies the prohibition on state purchases of single-use plastic beverage bottles, among other reforms.

In response, MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz issued the following statement:

“I vividly remember when I got a phone call from state Rep. Alice Wolf, may she rest in peace, almost 20 years ago. She said, ‘I’ve seen one too many plastic bags hanging from trees, I’m going to file a bill to ban them.’ Since that time, 160 Massachusetts cities and towns, representing almost two-thirds of our state’s residents, have taken action to reduce single-use plastic bags.

“We now know that our reliance on single-use plastics results in all sorts of damage beyond blighting our trees. Plastics pollute our waterways and landscapes. They break down into microplastics that cause health problems. The process of making plastic from fossil fuels exacerbates climate change.

“We have alternatives: reusable bags. We thank the state Senate for taking action, and we look forward to getting this bill passed in the House and then on to Gov. Maura Healey’s desk. Together, we can ensure a future less polluted with plastic.”