Plastic Bag Ban in Maine Has Been Delayed Due to COVID-19
The ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers in Maine was originally supposed to take place in April 2020, but the pandemic caused that to change.
A follow-up ban date was supposed to then start in January 2021, but again, thanks to COVID-19, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection decided to delay the ban and push it back once more, according to WMTW.
The new enforcement date of the ban on plastic bags will be in July 2021, the news station reported. But seeing as the first two times were postponed and the pandemic doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon, be on the lookout for that date to change as well.
In fact, in an effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses have asked people to stop bringing in their reusable bags to help prevent transmission. The idea being that many people probably aren't cleaning those bags well enough (or at all) after each use and the virus could still be on the bag.
And with an increased amount of groceries and take-out at restaurants, that has also led to an increased use in paper and plastic bags to put items in for customers to take home, according to WMTW.
Even with the delay, reusable bags haven't been banned in the state. Interestingly, neighboring New Hampshire had banned reusable bags back in March, according to WMUR, before lifting that ban in July.
Maine has said, per its "COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance," reusable bags are allowed at the discretion of the store managers. And that guidance was updated in July 2020.
So really, it's up to the Maine businesses if they want to keep allowing people to use reusable bags in their stores or stick to providing plastic bags for customers to carry out items as long as the ban remains delayed.
But even with the delay due to the the pandemic, according to WMTW, the Department of Environmental Protection still wants to make it clear that it doesn't diminish the importance of eventually removing plastic bags and polystyrene containers from our everyday waste. It's just going to take a little bit longer to get there.
What do you think of the delay on single-use plastic bags in Maine? Will it be delayed again? Do you try and use a reusable bag when you go to the store?
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