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Cambridge Bans Plastic Bags — And Institutes Paper Bag Fee

The Cambridge City Council voted Monday night to ban single-use plastic bags in the city. The ban goes into effect in March 2016.

The OK'd ordinance says "the reduction in the use of disposable checkout bags by Retail Establishments ... is a public purpose that protects the marine environment, advances solid waste reduction, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and protects waterways."

According to City Councilor Dennis Carlone, Cambridge is now the largest city on the East Coast with such a ban.

Several other Massachusetts municipalities, including Brookline, have a plastic bag ban.

The Cambridge measure, which had been studied there since 2007, passed by an 8-1 vote.

The ordinance also requires retailers charge a fee for paper bags. Carlone says Cambridge is the first city in the state to introduce a paper bag fee.

Both the plastic bag ban and the paper bag fee are intended to encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags.

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