Fiorentini Clarifies Plastic Bag Ban: Market Basket Won’t Charge for Paper Bags

Market Basket will charge for heavier-duty reusable plastic bags, but not paper, at the request of Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (Courtesy photograph)

On the eve of Haverhill’s implementation of a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, Mayor James J. Fiorentini has made a last-minute revision to the ordinance to eliminate confusion.

Late Monday, Fiorentini reached out to Tewksbury-based Market Basket to confirm the supermarket giant will not charge for paper checkout bags, despite signage to the contrary. Due to the language contained in the ordinance, it was incorrectly conveyed that the chain could charge five cents for a paper checkout bag.

“That was not the intent of the ordinance,” Fiorentini’s spokesman Shawn Regan told WHAV. “At the Mayor’s request, they will not be charging for the use of paper checkout bags.”

Market Basket, however, does plan to charge for the reusable plastic bags currently on sale at checkout stands across the city. The ordinance will be revised to properly convey the fee structure for bags available for purchase, Fiorentini’s office said.

This week, Haverhill becomes one of 80 communities across the Commonwealth to ban the plastic citywide in an effort to go green. Thursday’s start of the ban is enforceable for locations with more than 8,000 square feet of retail space. Other businesses have until May to comply.

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting—carried live by 97.9 WHAV FM starting at 7 p.m.—Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua is expected to petition colleagues for an extension on the implementation of ban.