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To Reduce Plastic Waste, Mass. Lawmakers Weigh A Ban On Balloons

In this 2018 file photo, a trailer door is opened on a truck filled with unsorted recyclable refuse as it is offloaded and added to a giant pile in a processing building at EL Harvey & Sons, a waste and recycling company in Westborough. (Charles Krupa/AP)
In this 2018 file photo, a trailer door is opened on a truck filled with unsorted recyclable refuse as it is offloaded and added to a giant pile in a processing building at EL Harvey & Sons, a waste and recycling company in Westborough. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Massachusetts lawmakers on Tuesday will consider a raft of bills aimed at increasing recycling and reducing plastic waste. Many of the proposals would require businesses to make some changes.

One bill up for consideration by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture would prohibit restaurants from giving out plastic straws unless a customer asks for them. Another would ban the sale of helium balloons, which can end up in the ocean and harm marine life. Yet another bill would require that single-use plastic bottles sold in the state be made from at least 15% recycled plastic.

The hearing on these and a couple of dozen other proposals come as lawmakers continue to weigh a possible ban on single-use plastic bags.

A recent version of that proposal ran into opposition from some environmental advocates who said that some provisions in the bill, such as a clause that would preempt local plastic bag laws to create a uniform rule, would result in weaker restrictions in many jurisdictions.

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Adrian Ma Twitter Reporter
Adrian Ma is a reporter for WBUR's Bostonomix team.

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