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Hadley’s plastic bag ban kicks in Jan. 1

  • AP



Staff Writer
Monday, January 02, 2023

HADLEY — One-time use plastic bags at supermarkets and department stores, foam containers for takeout food and plastic straws at restaurants will be prohibited in Hadley beginning on Jan. 1.

Licensing Coordinator Jennifer Sanders James recently sent a reminder notice to all businesses with licenses under the Select Board’s purview, including restaurants, liquor stores and entertainment venues, and also made a posting on the town website, that Hadley is joining area communities, including Northampton, Amherst, Easthampton and South Hadley, in restricting the use of plastics and Styrofoam.

At May’s annual Town Meeting, voters adopted a plastic reduction section of the existing health and sanitation bylaw “to protect the health safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the town by protecting the environment, advancing solid waste reduction reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting waterways.”

That bylaw, which Sanders James attached in her communication with businesses, spells out aspects of the regulation, such as giving them the ability to assess up to a 10-cent per bag fee for paper bags at checkout, that takeout food containers must be recyclable or compostable and that plastic straws can be provided upon request to a customer, but are not to be given as a matter of course.

There is also a penalty of $300 for an initial violation and a $300 per day fee as long as the violation remains in place.

While businesses can, in writing, ask for up to a year-long hardship deferment from the Board of Health, which can be granted following a public hearing, none have yet sought that avenue.

When Town Meeting took the action, it was suggested by supporters that many businesses that operate across the country, and have a presence in Hadley, already are accustomed to similar bans, whether it be Target, Walmart and Stop & Shop or Applebee’s, Chili’s and Texas Roadhouse.

Board of Health Chairwoman Dr. Susan Mosler said that her board is in the process of determining how to oversee any requests for deferments, should they come. Board member Emma Dragon is the board’s point person on the matter, Mosler said.

Select Board Chairwoman Jane Nevinsmith said the health board is looking to schedule a Jan. 5 hearing on the bylaw and to set a process for any deferment requests. Nevinsmith said there are some businesses that she understands have already ordered supplies for the year ahead, and that town doesn’t want to punish businesses, many of which are continuing to be affected by the Route 9 road construction.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.