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Bring your own bag to LaVerde’s, Shaws or pay extra

A ban on single-use plastic bags took effect in Cambridge on Thursday, March 31.

Under the “Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance,” stores are no longer allowed to give out free plastic bags at checkout. Instead, customers must either bring their own reusable bags or purchase bags from the store. Businesses are required to charge at least ten cents plus sales tax for these bags, and the bags must be either reusable, paper, or compostable. However, some types of bags will be exempt from the ordinance, including produce bags, laundry bags, dry-cleaner and newspaper bags, and bags used to wrap meat or frozen foods.

The ban, which was passed in March of last year, affects businesses that MIT students frequent, such as Shaws, LaVerde’s, and HMart.

The UA Sustainability Committee “very much supports the ban,” wrote Becca A. Sugrue ’17 in an email to The Tech. They hope it will spark interest in additional environmental bans, particularly a ban on styrofoam. They are currently working with the MIT Department of Facilities and the Graduate Student Council to reduce styrofoam use on campus and promote reusable foodware and compostables.

Last winter, in preparation for the ban, MIT Facilities’ Recycling Office led a reusable bag drive on campus with the goal of collecting 10,000 bags to donate to the city of Cambridge.

Cambridge is the largest city in Massachusetts thus far to have passed a ban on plastic bags. The city’s website says that the purpose of the ban is “to protect the marine environment, advance solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect waterways.”

—Emma Bingham