STATEWIDE — Beginning July 1, shoppers can expect a major change to their shopping experience as retail stores will no longer be offering plastic bags at checkout.
Plastic bags will no longer be offered at big box retailers, but some businesses will offer paper bags for 5 cents.
“That will help with our costs. It’s an inconvenience to the customer but it’s something in the long run that will offset the cost of operation,” Brewer IGA General Manager Reba Heath said.
The IGA will offer a few options for customers, Heath said.
“We will have some thermal bags. We will also have some heavier duty bags that will cost a dollar. They are reusable, they’ve got some cute little prints on them and some that say ‘IGA Hometown Proud’ just so people can plan.”
Some places like Tiller & Rye in Brewer are ahead of the July 1 plastic bag ban.
“We wanted to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible and we find that using paper and boxes we can really implement that,” said General Manager Jalana Carrigan.
Originally, the ban was passed by the Maine Legislature in 2019 and scheduled to go into effect in April of 2020, however, the ban’s enforcement was delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Plastic bags are typically made from petroleum, which is not a renewable resource. There is a lot of energy that goes into the production of those bags, while there is energy that goes into the production of reusable bags, every time we use that bags, that life cycle gets smaller and smaller,” said Megan Pryor, environmental specialist at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
People are urged to recycle many types of bags, including plastic grocery and retail bags, produce bags and more.
So far, eight states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont have banned single-use plastic bags.
In addition, expanded polystyrene foam, commonly but inaccurately known by the trade name Styrofoam, is also banned in the state of Maine.