Single-Use Plastics Ban

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Nantucket’s Single-Use Plastics Ban prohibits these single-use petroleum based plastic products from being commercially used, sold or distributed:

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  1. If you are not sure whether your business is in compliance with this bylaw, send us an email to schedule a free audit of your merchandise and/or ask any questions about the ban.
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Choose reusable options!

Here are some ideas to help Nantucket reduce plastic pollution:

Choose refillable water bottles. There are many water stations on Island.

water station

Choose refillable coffee pods for your brewing machine. Always use reusable mugs.


Use reusable straws. There are many options: glass, stainless steel, silicone, and bamboo.


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. At Annual Town Meeting in 2020, an amendment that refined the original bylaw was favorably voted upon, also effective June 1, 2020. The bylaw prohibits the following single-use, petroleum-based plastic products from being commercially sold or distributed:

    • Straws and drink stirrers
    • Flexible can and bottle yokes
    • Drinking cups and lids
    • Plates, bowls, and eating utensils
    • Drinking water in plastic or non-recyclable containers of one liter (34 ounces) or less
    • Single-use non-recyclable beverage pods
  • Please note, biodegradable packaging is already required under Nantucket’s 1990 Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw(§ 125-2.1).

Click here for the Sinlge-Use Plastics Bylaw.

WHO does the bylaw cover?

This bylaw is directed at commercial sales, distribution, and use of the products mentioned above. The sale of these items, as well as provision of these items as part of a commercial service, are included in this ban. This includes, but is not limited to, grocery stores, restaurants and takeout places, food trucks, liquor stores, gas stations, coffee shops, guesthouses, health clubs, yacht clubs and other clubs, caterers, event planners and non-profits’ events. Offices using these items for internal use are not subject to the bylaw. Similarly, 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 went into 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.

Thank you for supporting the health of our island and planet. As we begin our public outreach to educate businesses, residents and visitors as to the bylaw, we will be updating these FAQs as we go.