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Anime Boston Attendees Remember to BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags (UPDATED)

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

If you're heading out to the Anime Boston convention this weekend with the intention of picking up merchandise and art prints from the Dealer's Hall and Artist Alley, you could run into some trouble if you don't have reusable bags handy.

Artist Alley and Dealer's Hall merchants were caught off guard on Monday after convention staff alerted them that the only permissible types of bags must be reusable, recyclable, or compostable with handles. The restriction is due to an ordinance that went in effect in Boston on December 14, 2018. Plastic bags with handles are not allowed and retailers are required to charge customers an additional US$.05 per bag unless the customer brings their own.

Retailers who were unaware of the restrictions have found themselves unable to comply and might be short on bags for their customers. If possible, customers should attempt to plan ahead by bringing their own bags to hold any prints and merchandise bought at Anime Boston.

The city of Boston joined other cities in the U.S. in the banning of plastic bags. Portland, OR, Seattle, and cities throughout California including San Diego and Los Angeles have banned plastic bags. Other large cities like NYC added a fee for plastic bag use.


Anime Boston's Director of Public Relations Chris O'Connell provided Anime News Network with the following statement.

Anime Boston understands the notice regarding the new city ordinance on plastic bags may have caught some of the exhibitors in our Dealers' Room and Artists' Alley off guard. As this ordinance went into effect just in December and has been implemented in phases, we weren't completely familiar with it ourselves. When we realized it may have an impact on Anime Boston's exhibitors, we reached out to the city to confirm the scope of the ordinance. Once we were sure and understood it, we informed the exhibitors.

To clarify some possible confusion, this ordinance only applies to "checkout bags" given to customers with their purchase, and only prohibits giving out single use plastic bags with handles. Plastic bags without handles are permitted, such as zip-top bags, twist-tie bags, and art print sleeves. For "checkout bags", exhibitors would have to give out recyclable, compostable, or reusable bags. If the bag has a handle, it must be sold for at least 5 cents each and a notice of the price must be posted.

Anime Boston fully supports the city's efforts to reduce the quantity of single use plastic bags that are environmentally unfriendly. However, we will not be enforcing this ordinance ourselves. The notification was to inform exhibitors of the ordinance, its impact, and that the city itself may be inspecting exhibitors for compliance. If an exhibitor has further questions about the ordinance, we advise them to contact the City of Boston at http://boston.gov/plastic-bags.

Attendees are free to bring whatever bags they would like use to carry their convention purchases. If an attendee does buy a reusable bag from an exhibitor, they can continue to use it for other purchases. Additionally, the Anime Boston Merch Store will have reusable tote bags available for purchase, as we have had for many years.

We at Anime Boston do regret we were not able to inform the exhibitors sooner. In order to help out exhibitors who may be unable to procure reusable bags so soon, we are working to acquire a supply from local vendors in time for the convention. These reusable and/or biodegradable bags will meet the ordinance's requirements and be available to vendors at cost, while supplies last.

Thanks to Sarah Forde for the news tip

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