Article 75

ARTICLE 75

(Bylaw Amendment:  Single-Use Plastics)

Carried Over from 2020 Annual Town Meeting

            To see if the Town will vote to:

 

1) make certain amendments to the bylaw “The Regulation of Commercial Sale, Distribution and Use of Single Use Plastics” as approved in Special Town Meeting 2018, Article 16 (Called”STM2018-16”); 

 

2) request that the Board of Public Works vote to rescind Board of Public Works Regulation 71.00 (“Regulation 71.00”) as adopted by the Board of Public Works pursuant to the authority granted under section 125-3 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket and the general authority of the Board of Public Works pursuant to Chapter 169 of the Acts of 1965, as amended by Chapter 259 of the Acts of 1987, in order to incorporate the purpose and intent of that Regulation into the bylaw STM2018-16;

 

3) to remove from the Code of the Town of Nantucket § 125-3 Biodegradable Packaging [Amended 12-12-1989 STM by Art. 2, approved 3-14-1990]; and

 

4) once Regulation 71.00 is rescinded, and § 125-3 Biodegradable Packaging is removed from the Code of The Town of Nantucket, replace both with the revised bylaw “The Regulation of Commercial Sale, Distribution and Use of Certain Single Use Plastics” the text of which follows (with underlined text below showing additions to the version of the bylaw that was approved at STM 2018 as printed in the Warrant, double strike throughs (     ) to show deletions and underlined italic blue font to indicate language transferred from Regulation 71.00 and Code of the Town of Nantucket § 125-3 Biodegradable Packaging. None of these markings shall appear in the final version of the bylaw.); 

 

the purpose of which is to make certain correction, clarifications; additions of definitions and items to be banned effective June 1, 2021 or take any other action relative thereto. 

 

To Be Rescinded if Board of Public Works so votes:

 

Board of Public Works vote to rescind Board of Public Works Regulation 71.00 as adopted by the Board of Works pursuant to the authority granted under section 125-3 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket and the general authority of the Board of Public Works pursuant to Chapter 169 of the Acts of 1965, as amended by Chapter 259 of the Acts of 1987

 

To Be Removed:

 

§ 125-3 Biodegradable packaging. [Amended 12-12-1989 STM by Art. 2, approved 3-14-1990] All packaging added to or supplied by vendors or commercial establishments within the Town of Nantucket for merchandise of any type being removed from the establishment shall comply with such rules and regulations requiring the use of biodegradable packaging to the maximum extent reasonably practicable as might be established by the Board of Public Works after a public hearing; provided, however, that this section shall take effect April 15, 1990. "Biodegradable packaging" means any packaging other than plastic or Styrofoam.

 

To Be Replaced with The Following:

 

Section I. Definitions and Purpose 

 

Definitions: 

 

Single-use plastics - are petroleum-based plastic products that are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away. They are “disposable” products. The items covered by this Bylaw are listed herein. 

 

Commercial use - using the petroleum-based plastic products listed herein by a business, directly/indirectly for financial gain or convenience. 

Petroleum -based plastic - plastics manufactured using petroleum derived polymers. Plant-based plastics are exempted from this Bylaw. 

 

Compostable - This category of plastic is comprised of two basic types. 1) a material that breaks down without mechanical assistance, which is defined herein as “compostable”; and 2) materials requiring mechanical assistance such as the application of high temperatures not achievable in backyard compost piles for a period of several days, which is defined herein in as “commercially compostable”. 

 

Compostable plastic is defined by the standards association ASTM International (ASTM) as “a plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield carbon dioxide (CO2), water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials and that leaves no visible, distinguishable, or toxic residue.” All petroleum-based plastics that are compostable break eventually breakdown into smaller pieces of petroleum-based plastics, some of which are not visible to the unaided human eye. These particles are known as micro-plastic particles and have been found in most bottled waters and in the human and other animals’ bodies due to ingestion of affected food sources.

 

They are made from materials that can naturally breakdown into usable compost material in back yard compost piles. These materials will enrich the soil and returns nutrients to the earth. According to the US Federal Trade Commission Green Guide updated October 2012, “Some materials break down into usable compost material that enriches the soil and returns nutrients to the earth."

 

Compostable plastics are typically made from some type of renewable raw material. Corn starch is one of the most common materials, as is hemp, but there are other similar options. Regardless of what compostable plastic is made from, it’s transformed into a polymer that looks and feels like traditional plastic. Compostable plastics can be difficult to recycle. Most of them require commercial/industrial composting facilities.  Compostable plastic material cannot breakdown through natural processes and must be sent off island to a commercial composting facility where it is processed at high heat for several days. Nantucket currently does not have the commercial composting capabilities.
 

Commercially Compostable - The American Society for Testing and Materials (now known as ASTM International) has published specific guidelines that must be met for a material to be labeled as commercially compostable. In broad terms, those guidelines are:

  • “It must able to be broken down by biological treatment at a commercial or industrial composting facility”;
  • “Decomposition of the plastic must occur at a rate similar to the other elements of the material being composted (within 6 months)”; and
  • It will “Leave no toxic residue that would adversely impact the ability of the finished compost to support plant growth”

 

It is compostable material that cannot breakdown through natural processes and must be sent off island to a commercial composting facility where it is processed at high heat for several days.

 

Biodegradable - According to the US Federal Trade Commission Green Guide updated October 2012, “Something that’s biodegradable, like food or leaves, breaks down and decomposes into elements found in nature when exposed to light, air, moister, certain bacteria, or other organisms.”

 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a biodegradable product is one that in its entirety will “completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short period of time (one year) after customary disposal”

  

The American Society for Testing and Materials (now known as ASTM International) defines biodegradable plastic as “a plastic in which all the organic carbon can be converted into biomass, water, carbon dioxide, and/or methane via the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, in timeframes consistent with the ambient conditions of the disposal method.

 

Currently there is no data to support that many of the things claiming to be biodegradable will be broken down in landfills.

 

Drinking Water – is potable, unflavored, non-carbonated water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.

 

Flavored Water - a category of beverage marketed as water which contains an array of additional ingredients, including, but not limited to, natural and artificial flavors, sugars, sweeteners, vitamins, minerals and other “enhancements”. (source: Medical Dictionary)

 

Carbonated Water - water that contain dissolved carbon dioxide gas, either artificially injected under pressure or occurring due to natural geological processes. Carbonation causes small bubbles to form, giving the water an effervescent quality. Also known as “sparkling water”, “tonics”, “soda water”, “club soda”, “tonic water”, “seltzer”’ “pop” and the like. (source: Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary)

 

Boxed Water - Any type of drinking water, flavored water, carbonated water packaged in an aseptic carton, like the type often used for holding coconut water, soymilk, soups and the like. These cartons are typically promoted as being more than 75% made from recycled paper or other fibers, but the rest of it is often a set of plastic parts such as a cap and pouring ring and internal layers made from petroleum-based plastics such as polyethylene and aluminum.

 

Energy Drink - a type of drink containing sugar and/or other stimulant compounds when packaged in a petroleum based plastic container or packaged in a paper or similar fiber package like the containers used for Boxed Water.

 

Purpose:

The purpose of the Bylaw 2018-16 and the amendments to Bylaw 2018-16 proposed herein is to protect the health and safety of Nantucket’s present and future generations, protect the Town’s single source aquifer, its scenic visage, historic status, reduce litter, reduce the threat to the environment caused by rapid filling of the landfill space and by possible introduction of toxic by-products into the groundwater and general environment, protect marine animals and food sources and save the citizens of the Town money. There are safe alternatives for each of the single-use petroleum-based plastic items banned. This bylaw applies to commercial sale, distribution and use of these plastic products. However, individuals need to do their part to strive to conserve, protect and preserve our environment.

 

The Town of Nantucket recognizes that discarded packaging constitutes the largest single category of waste within the Town and County of Nantucket’s waste stream and is, therefore, a necessary focus of any effort towards reducing the filling of the Towns landfill as well as towards reducing the economic and environmental costs of waste management. 

 

The Town finds that discarded non-biodegradable packaging and plastic contained within the waste stream of Nantucket is a fundamental cause of problems associated with solid waste disposal.  

 

The Town understands that the landfill space within the Town and County of Nantucket is diminishing rapidly; that the availability of solid waste receiving areas outside the Island of Nantucket is becoming increasingly uncertain and expensive; and, that for both economic and environmental reasons, measures to simplify the chemical complexity of solid waste and, thereby, to streamline solid waste management must be vigorously pursued.  

 

The Town finds that the chemical composition and the ability of a substance to biodegrade are meaningful and useful criteria to focus upon when establishing public policy that is intended to improve the management and disposal of solid waste, reduce the cumulative impact of litter, encourage composting and other forms of recycling, and otherwise anticipate environmental problems that may be caused by municipal solid waste disposal programs. 

 

The Town finds and determines that the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable packaging has become widespread throughout the island and the resulting mixed substance waste stream is a serious impediment to solid management programs for the Town and County of Nantucket. 

 

The Town further finds that the widespread use of plastics and non-biodegradable packaging poses a threat to the environment on the Island of Nantucket by causing rapid filling of the landfill space and by the possible introduction of toxic by-product into the groundwater and general environment of the island of Nantucket. 

 

The economic and environmental problems associated with the mixed substance waste stream are so severe that a program of incrementally simplify the chemical composition of solid waste, thereby encouraging the composting of putrescible wastes and encouraging other forms of recycling of solid waste substances, is a policy goal of the Town of Nantucket. 

 

BY-LAW:

Section II. Commercial Ssale, distribution and commercial use of petroleum-based single use plastic products. 

 

It shall be unlawful to commercially sell, distribute or otherwise commercially use the following single-use petroleum-based plastic products in the Town and County of Nantucket on or after June 1, 2020: 

 

Straws and drink stirrers;

Six-pack Can and bottle flexible yokes (no limit on capacity size); 

Single use drinking cups and lids;

Plates and non-compostable eating utensils; 

Drinking water in single-serve polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less; and 

Single use, non-biodegradable recyclable coffee or other beverage pods 

 

It shall be unlawful to commercially sell, distribute or use the following single-use petroleum-based plastic and other listed products in the Town and County of Nantucket on or after June 1, 2022:

 

Flushable wipes containing plastic fibers, cloth fibers and/or anti-bacterial chemicals;

Cellulose acetate and or any other type of plastic fiber cigarette filters;

Plastic mesh tea bags;

Any type of non-deposit, plastic beverage container of 63 ounces or less, including, but not limited to water, flavored water, sparkling water, soda, energy drinks; 

Boxed water containers with components of petroleum based plastic materials such as pouring spouts, caps and as a liner;

Plastic and glass nip bottles with capacities of up to 200ml;

Plastic stick ear buds;

Small, individual plastic bottles of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion with capacities of up to 200ml;

Plastic shopping bags, take-out bags, take-out containers, clam-shell containers and similar containers;

Any and all non-recyclable petroleum based plastic products with resin identification codes #3 through #7

 

Any and all packaging added to or supplied by a vendor within the Town of Nantucket for the purpose of transporting merchandise of any type shall be biodegradable and compostable. 

 

Reusable compostable Ccontainers and recyclable paper or cardboard containers are allowable alternatives and, where not a health hazard as determined by the Board of Health or public law, vendors shall encourage the use of such containers by allowing customers to bring their own containers or by providing such reusable containers at no charge or for a reasonable fee. 

 

Each vendor within the Town of Nantucket shall display a notice proximate to the point of sale device cash register and plainly visible to its patron stating the following: 

 

“All packaging added or supplied by this vendor or commercial establishment for merchandise of any type being removed from this establishment must be biodegradable, compostable packaging.  No non-biodegradable packaging may be added to or supplied by this vendor or commercial establishment for merchandise of any type being removed from the establishment.”  

 

Section III. Exemption for Emergencies and other 

Drinking water (plain, unflavored) - Sales occurring after a declaration of an emergency adversely affecting availability and/or quality of drinking water to Nantucket residents by the emergency Management Director or other duly authorized Town, Commonwealth or United States official shall be exempt from this Bylaw until seven (7) calendar days after such declaration has ended. 

Medical packaging and medically required usage are exempted providing no recyclable alternatives are available.

 

Plant-based, biodegradable or compostable plastics are exempted from this Bylaw. 

 

Section IV. Enforcement Process 

Enforcement of this Bylaw shall be the discretionary responsibility of the Town Manager or her/his designee. Police officers and Health Agents have the authority to enforce this Bylaw. The Town Manager shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other Town duties as appropriate. Any establishment conducting sales, distribution or otherwise engaging in the commercial use of the prohibited plastic products in violation of this Bylaw shall be subject to a noncriminal disposition fine as specified in Article II of Chapter 1 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket under M.G.L. Chapter 40, § 21D. Any such fines shall be paid to the Town of Nantucket. Enforcement shall be through the process of noncriminal disposition under MGL c. 40, § 21D and Article II of Chapter 1 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket. 

 

V. Suspension of the Bylaw 

If the Town Manager determines that the cost of implementing and enforcing this Bylaw has become unreasonable, then the Town Manager shall so advise the Select Board, and the Select Board shall conduct a public hearing to inform the citizens of such costs. After the public hearing, the Select Board may continue this Bylaw in force or may suspend it permanently or for such length of time as they may determine. 

 

VI. Severability

The provisions of this bylaw and article are severable. If any part of this section should be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the remainder of the bylaw or article, and the remainder of the bylaw or article shall stay in full force and effect. 

 

(Bruce Mandel, et al)

NOTE:  Due to formatting restrictions, the references to “underlined italic blue” are shown in underlined italic black text.

FINANCE COMMITTEE MOTION:  Move  to amend Chapter 125A (Regulation of Sale, Distribution and Commercial Use of Certain Single-Use Plastics) of the Code of the Town of Nantucket, by taking the following actions (NOTE: new language is shown as highlighted text, language to be deleted is shown by strikeout; these methods to denote changes are not meant to become part of the final text and, further, that non-sustentative changes to the numbering of this bylaw be permitted in order that it be in compliance with the numbering format of the Code of the Town of Nantucket):

 

Chapter 125A. Single-Use Plastics

 

Article I. Regulation of Sale, Distribution and Commercial Use of Certain Single-Use Plastics

 

§125A-1. Definitions and Purpose

 

A.      Definitions

 

         BOXED WATER

Any type of drinking water, flavored water, carbonated water, energy drink packaged in an aseptic carton, like the type often used for holding coconut water, soy milk, soups, and the like. These cartons are typically promoted as being more than 75% made from recycled paper or other fibers, but the rest of it is often a set of plastic parts such as a cap and pouring ring and internal layers or linings made from petroleum-based plastics such as polyethylene and aluminum.

 

         CARBONATED WATER

Water that contains dissolved carbon dioxide gas, either artificially injected under pressure or occurring due to natural geological processes. Carbonation causes small bubbles to form, giving the water an effervescent quality. Also known as “sparkling water”, “tonics”, “soda water”, “club soda”, “tonic water”, “seltzer”’ “pop” and the like. 

 

            COMMERCIAL USE

         Use by a business, directly/indirectly for financial gain or convenience.

 

         DRINKING WATER

Potable, unflavored, non-carbonated water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.

 

         ENERGY DRINK

type of drink containing sugar and/or other stimulant compounds when packaged in a petroleum based plastic container or packaged in a plastic lined paper or similar fiber package.

         

         FLAVORED WATER

A category of beverage marketed as water which contains an array of additional ingredients, including, but not limited to, natural and artificial flavors, sugars, sweeteners, vitamins, minerals, and other “enhancements”.

 

            PETROLEUM-BASED PLASTIC

Plastic materials manufactured using petroleum-derived polymers. Compostable plastics as defined by ASTM International are exempted from this bylaw.

 

            SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

Petroleum-based plastic products that are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away. They are "disposable" products. The items covered by this bylaw are listed herein.

 

B. Purpose: The purpose of the bylaw is to protect the health and safety of Nantucket's present and future generations, protect the Town's single-source aquifer, its scenic visage, historic status, reduce litter, reduce the threat to the environment caused by rapid filling of the landfill space and by possible introduction of toxic by-products into the groundwater and general environment, protect marine animals and food sources and save the citizens of the Town money. There are safe alternatives for each of the single-use petroleum-based plastic items banned.

 

§ 125A-2 Sale, distribution and commercial use of petroleum-based single-use plastic products. 

 

It shall be unlawful to sell, distribute or commercially use the following single-use petroleum-based plastic products in the Town and County of Nantucket on or after June 1, 2020:

 

A. Straws and drink stirrers;

 

B. Flexible can and bottle yokes;

 

C. Drinking cups and lids;

 

D. Plates, bowls and eating utensils;

 

E. Drinking water in plastic or non-recyclable containers of one liter (34 ounces) or less; and

 

F. Single use, non-recyclable beverage pods. 

 

It shall be unlawful to sell, distribute or commercially use the following single-use petroleum-based plastic products in the Town and County of Nantucket on or after June 1, 2022:

 

G. Flushable wipes containing plastic fibers, cloth fibers and/or anti-bacterial chemicals;

 

H. Plastic stick ear swabs; 

 

§ 125A-3 Exemption for emergencies and other. 

 

A. Drinking water. Sales occurring after a declaration of an emergency adversely affecting availability and/or quality of drinking water to Nantucket residents by the Emergency Management Director or other duly authorized Town, Commonwealth or United States official shall be exempt from this bylaw until seven calendar days after such declaration has ended.

 

B. Medical packaging and medically required usage are exempted providing no recyclable alternatives are available.

 

C. Compostable plastics are exempted from this bylaw.

 

§ 125A-4 Enforcement process. 

 

Enforcement of this bylaw shall be the discretionary responsibility of the Town Manager or her/his designee. Police officers and health agents have the authority to enforce this bylaw. The Town Manager shall determine the inspection process to be followed, incorporating the process into other Town duties as appropriate. Any establishment conducting sales, distribution or otherwise engaging in the commercial use of the prohibited plastic products in violation of this bylaw shall be subject to a noncriminal disposition fine as specified in Article II of Chapter 1 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket under MGL c. 40, § 21D. Any such fines shall be paid to the Town of Nantucket. Enforcement shall be through the process of noncriminal disposition under MGL c. 40, § 21D, and Article of Chapter 1 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket.

 

§125A-5 Suspension of bylaw.

If the Town Manager determines that the cost of implementing and enforcing this bylaw has become unreasonable, then the Town Manager shall so advise the Select Board, and the Select Board shall conduct a public hearing to inform the citizens of such costs. After the public hearing, the Select Board may continue this bylaw in force or may suspend it permanently or for such length of time as they may determine. 

 


 

§125A-6. Severability.

The provisions of this bylaw article are severable. If any part of this bylaw article should be held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect the remainder of the bylaw article, and the remainder of the bylaw article shall stay in full force and effect.

 

ARTICLE 76