City Hosts Reusable Tote Bag Giveaway Ahead of February Plastic Bag Ban

With three months to go until Haverhill begins enforcing a citywide plastic bag ban, Mayor James J. Fiorentini is making sure seniors across the city will have at least one bag close at hand free of charge.

On Monday, Fiorentini joined Haverhill’s over-65 residents at the Welcome Street Citizens Center for the kickoff of his reusable shopping bag giveaway program. As a provision written into the ban ordinance states, the City of Haverhill must provide all residents age 65 and over with a free reusable shopping bag before shops and grocery stores across the area will prohibit plastic in checkout lines.

The “Haverhill, Massachusetts” bags are now available to seniors at several locations. The city purchased the bags in bulk and paid $1.65 per bag, Fiorentini’s office said.

Seniors residing in units at the Haverhill Housing Authority, AHEPA, Judson House Apartments, Merrivista, Mission Towers and Phoenix Row may contact their building representatives to obtain their bags. Residents enrolled in “Meals on Wheels” will receive their bag through that program.

All others age 65 or older may pick up their tote at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St.

Authorized by the City Council in August, the plastic bag ban will be rolled out in Haverhill over a six-month period based on the size of retail businesses. The ban covers single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags. Once the ban begins, businesses may continue to provide checkout bags—made of recycled paper, for example—provided that they charge at least 5 cents per bag.