Eco-friendly plastic bag proves an elusive find

Most customers at Brookline Booksmith decline plastic bags when asked, but want them if it is raining or snowing.
Most customers at Brookline Booksmith decline plastic bags when asked, but want them if it is raining or snowing.Credit: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File 2008

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Brookline’s Town Meeting approved bans on disposable plastic bags and disposable polystyrene containers last November but in an effort to give businesses time to adapt, the by-laws weren’t scheduled to take effect until Dec. 1.

However, business owners such as Dana Brigham of Brookline Booksmith have been unable to find a plastic bag that complies with the bylaw’s requirement that the bags be compostable and marine degradable. As a result customers may have to bring a reusable bag or settle for a paper bag that won’t offer as much protection in inclement weather.

As many as 90 businesses in Brookline will have to deal with the plastic bag dilemma in the coming months and every food service business in town will need to find replacements for the polystyrene containers as officials implement the bans.

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