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Yes, this bylaw prohibits petroleum-based plastics only; compostable plastics, bamboo and other natural materials are permitted. Most compostable plastics items are currently made from polylactic acid (PLA), though there are other types of compostable plastics. Regardless, all compostable plastic items indicate on the item that it is compostable. Please note: the terms “biodegradable” and “oxo-degradable” do not signify that a material is “compostable,” nor are those terms interchangeable for “compostable.”
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No, this bylaw applies to COMMERCIAL use and distribution only. This bylaw will be enforced in commercial establishments, not on the streets or in people’s homes. However, we hope all will join in the spirit of the bylaw in reducing single-use plastic waste. We need everyone’s participation and consumer support to make the greatest difference.
Drinking water is plain, uncarbonated, unflavored water. Flavored water and carbonated water are not covered in this bylaw.
There are numerous locations around the island where you can refill your water bottle, with additional filling stations planned: https://www.nantucket-ma.gov/1371/Water-Stations. Additionally, only water in a single-use plastic or non-recyclable container of a liter or less is banned in this bylaw. Local businesses have already found alternative containers for drinking water made from other materials. Using a reusable water is preferable in order to minimize waste from single-use items, as well as reduce carbon emissions associated with production and transportation of single-use items.
Vending machines are commercial sale and distribution, and they will not be permitted to sell items included in the ban.
As long as the items are for personal use and not commercial use and distribution, bringing these items in from off-island is permitted under the bylaw. However, again, we hope all will join in the spirit of the bylaw in reducing single-use plastic waste. We need everyone’s participation and consumer support to make the greatest difference.
This bylaw will rely on complaint-based enforcement, as the Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw does.
The objective of waste stream separation is to handle all waste in the most sustainable ways possible, within the limitations and unique challenges Nantucket faces pertaining to waste management. Reducing the amount of waste generated is the first, and most effective and efficient, step in minimizing our impact on the health of the natural environment, and in turn our own health. While there are single-use alternatives to each of the banned items, we encourage you to consider reusable alternatives to these items. This minimizes waste and reduces carbon emissions associated with production and transportation of single-use items.
Most compostable plastics need certain conditions in an industrial composter to break down, which Nantucket’s waste management facility at 188 Madaket Road may or may not meet. The Department of Public Works and Waste Options Nantucket are working on conducting research to better understand the capabilities of our Composter and composting process.
Cleaning up the Compostable Waste stream by keeping plastic and other non-biodegradable materials out of it, creates more possibilities for finding ways to properly handle compostable plastics locally.
For more information about how to sort your ‘trash’ visit: https://www.nantucket-ma.gov/SolidWaste.
Nantucket has an existing Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw, which is related to this Single-Use Plastics bylaw but covers packaging: https://ecode360.com/11471185. The 2020-Plastics Ban Informal Work Group is looking into possibly merging the regulations for the Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw and regulations for this Single-Use Plastics Bylaw, as well as better understanding loopholes in the existing Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw regulations.
Initially the proposed ban was more comprehensive than what was voted on at Special Town Meeting. In the future, there is the possibility for adding additional items to the bylaw.