Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance

The City of Cambridge Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) Ordinance took effect March 31, 2016. The ordinance affects all retail establishments that provide a bag to customers. Retail establishments such as grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants, liquor stores, and other retailers must comply with this ordinance. If you’re unsure if the ordinance applies to your business, please contact us at 617-349-4800. Click here to read the Ordinance.

Checkout Sticker

The purpose of the Ordinance is to reduce the use of disposable checkout bags by retail establishments. Under the ordinance, plastic bags with handles are prohibited. Any reusable, paper, or compostable bag with handles provided at the point of sale must charge a checkout bag charge minimum of $0.10/bag. Businesses must show this as the “Checkout Bag Charge” on the receipt and collect sales tax on each bag. 

The purpose of this Ordinance is to protect the marine environment, advance solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect waterways. This Ordinance seeks to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags that are being burned, used, discarded and littered, and to promote the use of reusable checkout bags. Bags exempt from the Ordinance include produce bags, laundry, dry-cleaner and newspaper bags, and bags used to wrap meat or frozen foods. 

To report non-compliance or issues at a retail establishment, please use this form.


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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

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Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm