AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s statewide bans on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene will begin on Thursday, July 1.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection said it is working with retail stores and restaurants to make sure they are ready for the single-use plastic bag ban. The Maine Legislature passed the ban in 2019 and it was initially scheduled to go into effect in April 2020.
The state delayed enforcement of the ban due to aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. The first delay was because of concerns about the transmission of the virus, and a second delay was because of concerns stemming from disruption in packing supplies due to the pandemic, the DEP said.
When the ban takes effect, stores and restaurants will not be allowed to provide the single-use plastic bags, the DEP said. In most cases, Maine retailers are no longer allowed to give out single-use plastic bags or polystyrene foam disposable food containers. As an alternative, retailers can offer customers fully-recyclable paper bags or thicker, plastic ones that can be used up to 75 times. Each carry-out bag costs customers at least five cents.
The polystyrene foam bad includes any polystyrene container, bowl, plate, tray, carton, cup, lid, sleeve, stirrer or other item used to contain, transport, serve or consume prepared foods.
According to the DEP, the polystyrene ban pertains to "all businesses and organizations that meet the definition of a food establishment; eating establishment; agricultural fair; farmers' market; food pantry, church, or community organization that provides food or beverages without charge; boarding home, retirement home, independent living place or nursing home can no longer use polystyrene foam food service ware."