Town Council Considering Plastic Bag Ban in Watertown

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A Town Council subcommittee has begun wading into whether the town should have a ban retail stores using plastic bags in Watertown.

The Rules & Ordinances Committee discussed a possible ban last week, but did not come up with any decisions, but the committee may start steps toward creating an ordinance, said committee Chairman and Councilor Ken Woodland.

“We are forming a draft of an ordinance with the help of the town attorney and will review that draft at the next committee meeting,” said Woodland. “The next meeting is when we will work out the final details and make more concrete decisions.”

Woodland said the next meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 3.

At the recent meeting, the committee reviewed steps that have been taken by other communities, including those in other states, Woodland said.

A citizens group called ReThink Plastic has pushed for the town to ban plastic bags from major retailers in town, such as supermarkets and chain pharmacies.

Over the summer, ReThink Plastic held a meeting where a man who helped pass a plastic bag ban in Brookline spoke about his experience. He reported that the ban cut 90 percent of plastic bags out of that town.

The group also pushed to educate people about using reusable bags instead of plastic bags (or paper) when shopping.

The Rules & Ordinances Committee did use some of the information provided by ReThink Plastic, Woodland said, but it was not the first time the Council has discussed such a ban.

“ReThink Plastic definitely did a lot of the work on the backend and has been a leading voice in this initiative,” Woodland said. “Additionally I know this idea has been getting kicked around over the past year or so as well.”

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