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Maine Environmentalists, Retailers And Grocers Back Bill Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags By 2022

Mark Baker
Associated Press
A shopper leaves a supermarket with goods in plastic bags in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.

Maine's largest environmental group, and organizations representing retailers and grocers, are backing a bill that would ban most single-use plastic bags by 2022.  The proposal prohibits retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags at the point of sale, but allows them to be used in certain other instances, such as packaging loose items like fruit and vegetables.

The measure also allows retailers to impose a 5-cent fee on the use of paper bags as a way of encouraging customers to bring reusable bags.

The Maine Grocers Association, Retail Association of Maine and Natural Resources Council of Maine are backing the bill.

The industry groups note that 20 Maine communities have already instituted some kind of plastic bag ban, so a statewide prohibition would help bring conformity.

NRCM says the ban will help reduce plastic bags effect on the environment.

Maine would become the third state to institute a statewide ban.

A public hearing on the bill will be held Wednesday.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.