Somerville Tries to Go Green, and Fails

As we’ve learned time and time again, it’s not easy being green. However, it is easy for politicians to cash in on people’s fears that the planet is one incandescent lightbulb away from destruction, by passing new laws that their constituents feel make a difference.

1211394963Somerville’s aldermen know this, and want to require large retail stores to provide recycling bins for unwanted plastic bags. The problem? Nobody knows how the bags will get recycled once they’re collected, according to the Somerville Journal.

[Alderman Rebekah] Gewirtz’s plan was tabled when Ben Weiner, owner of Somerville-based Sav-Mor liquors, asked the alderman who would pick his bags up after he collected them in his store.

“We want to encourage people to think green, but I’ve got to know who to send the bags to,” Weiner said. “I’d love to be able to comply with this.”

The city won’t recycle them, since plastic bags aren’t on its list of recyclable materials. Another alderman suggested that they call up New York, which has a similar law, and ask what they do with the bags. But Alderman Gewirtz would not be deterred.

“Can’t we just pass it now?” Gewirtz asked, hoping the committee could push the ordinance through and work the details out later.

The last time we did that, we got the hugely expensive health care reform law, so we’re glad Somerville put the brakes on until they figure out how the program will actually work.