It is with great satisfaction that we report that the Brunswick Town Council passed an ordinance banning single-use carryout plastic bags on March 20!!! The plastic bag ban will begin on September 1, 2017 and will apply to all retail stores in Brunswick: from grocery stores to office supplies retailers, convenience stores and clothing boutiques.
The vote was 8 in favor and 1 nay, the latter preferring a fee on bags to a ban. The good news is that the whole Council wanted to take action on reducing plastic bags in some way, indicating strong local support for taking care of our natural world and reducing trash.
Some Council members would have preferred to include a fee on carry out paper bags–a view that BYOB-MidCoast shares since paper bags, while better than plastic ones, DO cause more greenhouse gases in their manufacture and production than plastic. However, these councilors decided not to pursue this option because they were unsure of having a majority and it would have prolonged the process of implementing any restrictions on bags.
BYOB-MidCoast may return to the Council at a later time to ask them to add a fee on paper bags since there is significant support for this additional step. Meanwhile, the town’s Recycling & Sustainability Committee plans to monitor carryout bags after the ordinance goes into effect and see if there is an increase in people bringing their own bags and/or a shift to paper bags.
We are grateful to the Town Council for its action and, in particular, to Council Chair Alison Harris and Vice Chair Kathy Wilson.