Single-Use Plastics Ban

What does the bylaw cover?

At a Special Town Meeting held on October 10, 2018, Town Meeting voted to adopt a bylaw banning certain single-use plastics from commercial sale or distribution, effective June 1, 2020. The bylaw was approved by the Attorney General and an internal Town Administration group is currently working on a public outreach campaign to educate the public and affected businesses as to the ban.

The bylaw prohibits the following single-use, petroleum-based plastic products from being commercially sold or distributed:

  • Straws and drink stirrers
  • Six-pack can and bottle flexible yokes
  • Drinking cups and lids
  • Non-compostable plates and eating utensils
  • Drinking water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) containers of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less. Note: most single-use plastic water bottles are made of PETE, identifiable by the plastic resin code 
  • Non-recyclable coffee pods

Please note, biodegradable packaging is already required under Nantucket’s 1990 Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw (§ 125-2.1).


Plastic Ban Info Sessions flyer

Who does the bylaw cover?

This bylaw is directed at commercial sales, distribution, and use of the products mentioned above. Individuals are not subject to the bylaw; 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. 

Why is the bylaw necessary?

The purpose of this bylaw is to protect Nantucket’s single-source aquifer, marine life, scenic visage, historical status, reduce litter, and protect the health and safety of present and future generations. 

More than 10 million tons of plastics enter the ocean annually, and scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Plastics contribute hazards to human health, environmental health, and societal economies. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of plastics in the ocean are single-use items. Prevention through reducing plastic usage is the most effective management approach to mitigate plastic pollution.

Landfill space on Nantucket and elsewhere is rapidly diminishing and becoming increasingly expensive. Reducing the quantity of plastic waste we generate will extend the lifespan of Nantucket’s landfill and reduce the economic and environmental costs of managing plastic waste.  


Where is the bylaw effective?

This bylaw applies to Nantucket Town and County.

When is the bylaw effective?

This bylaw will go into effect on June 1, 2020.


How will I comply?

Speak with your supplier(s) about alternatives to single-use, petroleum-based plastics. Reach out to the Chamber of Commerce about a centralized purchasing plan they are working on. Begin to determine/research/review what items you can switch over to, now. For example, many food service establishments have already switched from plastic straws to paper and from plastic stirrers to wood or bamboo.