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Reducing Disposable Bags

Organization(s) Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description Each year, Massachusetts grocery stores distribute more than 1.5 billion paper and plastic bags. In many cases, these bags are used only once. A small percentage is recycled. Too often, bags become unsightly litter in communities and add to waste disposal costs. In March 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) launched a joint initiative with the supermarket industry to reduce the distribution of disposable paper and plastic grocery bags by 2013. MassDEP officials signed a memorandum of understanding with the Massachusetts Food Association (MFA), an industry group representing more than 500 grocery stores, to kick off the statewide waste-reduction effort.

Under the agreement, MFA members will use a variety of methods to reduce the demand for disposable bags, such as offering reusable bags, providing customer incentives for reusing bags, improving customer access to in-store plastic bag recycling, and training staff to reduce wasteful distribution of bags. Nearly all Massachusetts supermarkets now offer recycling programs that collect plastic shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other plastic wrapping materials. Most of the plastic is recycled into consumer products, such as plastic decking and lawn furniture.

Through its agreement with the state, MFA will provide technical assistance materials and services to expand recycling efforts and help supermarkets get started. Previous voluntary initiatives between MassDEP and the trade group have resulted in innovative and nationally-recognized methods for helping supermarkets recycle cardboard and shrink wrap and compost food wastes.

More Info www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/supermkt.htm
 
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Project Keywords
Industrial Sectors Food and Beverage Industries
 
Source
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 19 No. 1, Spring 2009 [PDF]

 

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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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