COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR GREENING MASSACHUSETTS
BagLaws.Com (Includes very helpful comparative data on local ordinances, organized by state. Some link to legislation.)
The plastics industry has mounted legal challenges against bans in California. So far these challenges have been unsuccessful. Here is a link to briefs and decisions on the matter.
Legal Challenges to Plastic Bags Laws
Thus far, most towns in Massachusetts has opted to ban only plastic bags. Cambridge and Williamstown have gone further. In order to encourage consumer responsibility, they supplement their ban of plastic with a fee for paper. In doing so, they join with some municipalities in other states, including many in California, that also impose a fee. Although there is variation, the general trend is to ban single-use plastic bags and charge ten cents for paper bags. Here are some additional models for community considering a paper bag levy:
Plastic Bags Laws with Levies
Plastic Bag Bans and Fees (Bag ordinances across the country, including some that BagLaws.Com missed)
Plastic Bag Laws Elsewhere
There are a number of decision points in crafting local legislation to ban plastic bags. First is the thickness of the bag. Some municipalities target bags over 1.5 mil thick; others target bags under 2.5, or 3.0, or even 4.0 mil thick. Another is to determine which businesses are impacted, all retail establishments, or just businesses over a certain size (i.e. big box and grocery stores). Many plastic bag bans also specify guidelines for paper bags. Although no municipality in Massachusetts currently charges a mandatory levy for bags, cities in other states have imposed a 5 or 10 cent fee per bag in lieu of a total ban. There are also the question of who will enforce the ban, and what fines will be levied for non-compliance. Municipalities in Massachusetts and elsewhere have addressed these matters differently. It is worth comparing legislation from several locations to determine what works best for your community.
Plastic Bag Laws in Massachusetts
Plastic Bag Legislation