Haverhill Chamber to Distribute Free Reusable Bags as Plastic Ban Begins

(File photograph.)

Dougan Sherwood of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce hopes the small business group’s effort indicates a show of support for eco-conscious efforts citywide. (File photograph)

In an effort to support residents and alleviate any hardship faced by Thursday’s implementation of the citywide plastic bag ban, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce plans to distribute free reusable grocery bags at area Market Basket locations, Chamber President Dougan Sherwood tells WHAV.

The bags will be offered to all city residents regardless of Chamber membership status.

“We recognize that this ban on plastic will add some short-term cost and complexity to members of the community and we hope that this gesture makes the transition just a bit easier for some,” Sherwood said.

The Chamber hopes the distribution will also signal their support for eco-conscious efforts in business and beyond.

“If you put aside the environmental argument for just a moment, there’s an economic one that we believe is just as valid. Bans on plastic bags is a trend we’re seeing in forward-thinking cities across the U.S.,” Sherwood continued. “If Haverhill is to compete for top talent, measures like a switch from disposable plastic to reusable products is one important signal that Haverhill is a place whose values match current trends.”

As the ban officially begins Thursday, the office of Mayor James J. Fiorentini is also issuing reusable bags to city seniors free of charge.

As WHAV previously reported, Thursday’s kickoff is for stores with 8,000 or more square feet of retail space. Small and mid-size businesses have until May to comply with the ban. All businesses may choose to sell reusable plastic shopping bags for a fee of at least five cents per bag, under the city’s new ordinance.