Effective Jan. 1, 2020, Pittsfield businesses will no longer be able to provide shoppers with thin-film, single-use plastic bags at checkout. The change reflects an ordinance banning the distribution of thin-film, single-use plastic bags in the City of Pittsfield, which the City Council passed on March 26, 2019.

Pittsfield retail establishments may continue to dispense only reusable checkout bags, recyclable paper bags, or compostable plastic bags. Thin-film single-use plastic bags are defined as bags with a thickness of 3 mils or less (plastic bags of greater than 3 mils in thickness are considered reusable).

The following thin-film plastic bags (typically without handles) shall not fall under the definition of checkout bags, and are otherwise exempt:
- Bags, whether plastic or not, in which loose produce or products are placed by the
customer to deliver such items to the point of sale/check out area;
- Laundry or dry cleaner bags;
- Newspaper bags;
- Bags used to wrap produce, frozen foods, meat or fish, and bulk foods.

Pittsfield businesses may apply for a hardship deferment if they are unable to meet the deadline for full compliance. The City’s Board of Health will consider hardship deferment requests that are submitted by Tuesday, December 31, 2019. Information on hardship deferments is available on the “Plastic Bag Ban” page, of which a link is available on the homepage of the city’s website, www.cityofpittsfield.org.

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