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Maine’s single-use plastic bag ban starts Thursday

Starting July 1, single-use plastic bags will be banned in stores throughout the state.
Starting July 1, single-use plastic bags will be banned in stores throughout the state.(WABI)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT
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HERMON, Maine (WABI) - Shopping will be a bit different starting Thursday.

Starting July 1, single-use plastic bags will be banned in stores throughout the state.

But places like Danforth’s Down Home Supermarket in Hermon have already made the switch.

“Fortunately, we had the opportunity to prepare over the last year or so, and start ordering the right products, the right types of bags and what not and also start depleting the inventory we had of the plastic bags beforehand,” said Brett Danforth, Danforth’s Grocery Store manager.

The Maine Legislature passed the ban in 2019 and it was initially scheduled to go into effect in April 2020.

But due to the pandemic and supply concerns, the start date was pushed back.

“We’re already seeing a lot of challenges with getting paper bags in the market place, there’s a lot of strain right now to get the supply chain to bring those up.” Danforth said.

Most retailers, like grocery stores, will now offer paper bags. But those will come with a five-cent fee.

People are encouraged to bring their own, clean reusable bags next time they’re out and about.

“We have a bunch of different ones that you can use here. We have actually Danforth branded bags that are really nice, they’re hearty, we’re selling them for 99 cents,” Danforth said.

“There are a lot of really great portable bags that can be put in your pocket, there are some pretty small ones out there now. It’s just time to start some new habits,” said Megan Mansfield Pryor, Maine DEP.

Mansfield Pryor says this is the right step towards a better future.

“Most of these materials are made from fossil fuels. But even if they’re made from plant based materials, it makes sense to make a bag that you’re going to use over and over and over again rather than a single use bag that’s going to be used for 10 minutes, an hour,” Mansfield Pryor said.

“Everybody knows the overall goal is to help the environment, it is a good thing in the long run,” Danforth said.

Danforth did say they will still use small plastic bags for produce, meat and fish.

The use of polystyrene foam for food service will be banned starting Thursday as well.

For more information, you can visit https://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/recycle/plastic-bag-film.html

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