On April 15, Anime Boston informed exhibitors of a change to their bags policy for the event. In an email obtained by Anime Herald, the convention reveals that, due to an ordinance that went in effect on December 14, 2018, retailers in Boston may no longer give out plastic bags with handles.

Rather, retailers and exhibitors may only give out the following types of handled bags:

  • Paper
  • Compostable
  • Reusable

Bags must be sold to customers for 5 cents, which can be avoided by users bringing their own bags.

Specific regulations for bags are as follows:


Paper bags must be 100% recyclable, and contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled materials. All paper bags with handles must be clearly labeled as meeting these qualifications.


Compostable must be explicitly labeled as compostable. Moreover, compostable containers must be labeled as being BioBag brand, Certified BPI Institute, or compliant with the ASTM D6400 standard.


Reusable bags must be advertised and sold as reusable, and must be 3.0 thousandths of an inch thick (0.0762mm) in all parts of the container.

Anime Boston will be held from April 19 – 21 at the Hynes Convention Center. According to the communication, active inspection on businesses who fall under the ordinance’s jurisdiction begins on July 1, but businesses are expected to be in full compliance prior to that point.

We reached out to Anime Boston, who stated that they are working with local vendors to acquire a supply of compliant bags, which will be available to vendors at cost, while supplies last.  The convention added that plastic bags can be given out, so long as they don’t have handles. This includes “zip-top bags, twist-tie bags, and art print sleeves.”

Their full statement is below:

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.

Source: Anime Boston (Email Communication); Thanks to Sarah Forde for the tip!