MAINE, USA — Editor's note: The above video aired in February.
Come July, shoppers will need to bring along their own reusable bags to all Maine stores, including Walmart.
That's because the one-use plastic bag ban Gov. Janet Mills signed into a law in 2019 will finally be enforced on July 1, 2021.
"This decision only further demonstrates the company’s commitment to advancing sustainable initiatives that support people and the environment and to its ongoing efforts to target zero emissions in its global operations by 2040," a spokesperson for Walmart said in an email.
The ban was originally delayed early in the pandemic by Mills because of worries that reusable bags could become contaminated and carry the virus home or into stores. The Maine CDC said that guidance later in the year from the U.S. CDC shows there was little risk from the bags.
The law has seen some opposition, including some Republican lawmakers wanting to repeal it.
Sen. Stacey Guerin (R-Glenburn), who is sponsoring one of three bills to repeal the law, said there are legitimate health concerns, and the single-use bags should not go away.
“The pandemic made it evident the germ and virus transfer to individuals through reusable plastic bags is a problem, and will continue to be a problem…if you look at it (in terms of) convenience and safety I think what you come up with right now is the plastic bags are the best alternative we have,” said Guerin, who also said she opposed the law two years ago.