Other Maine Town Experiences

Fifteen Maine towns have a ban or a fee on plastic shopping bags. So how is it working in those towns?

Portland
Policy: Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales
Took Effect: April 15, 2015

“There have not been any issues with compliance or businesses being cited for the plastic bag ordinance here in Portland.” Dan Davidson – City of Portland Director of Public Works

“Since the City of Portland adopted its fee on plastic and paper shopping bags we hardly ever see bags blowing around as litter or caught in trees.  People have gotten used to bringing their own bags when they go shopping which helps reduce shopping bag waste.  All of the affected retailers have been fully cooperative and we haven’t had any enforcement issues.” – Troy Moon – Portland Sustainability Coordinator

South Portland
Policy: Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales
Took Effect: March 1, 2016

“I am not aware of violations and do not know of an verifiable violations at this time.” – Mat Leconte – Code Enforcement Officer

York
Policy: Ban on plastic bags at all retail stores
Took Effect: March 1, 2016

“Our plastic bag ban is now in its second year and is running smoothly, and for the most part effortlessly.  The one thing I’d change when we rolled it out would be to give merchants more time to use up their existing inventory of plastic bags – our phase-in period occurred during the winter, which didn’t help the summer businesses at all.  Other than this minor oversight, which we accommodated by lenient enforcement in the first year, the plastic bag ban has been a solid success.” – Stephen H. Burns, York Town Manager

“I spend very little time enforcing the ban on plastic bags at retail stores. I have never had to issue a fine for a business’s found in noncompliance.” – Amber Harrison – Code Enforcement officer

Falmouth
Policy: Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores that are 10,000 square feet and larger
Took Effect: April 1, 2016

Freeport
Policy: Ban on plastic bags and five-cent fee on paper bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales. It does not affect retailers
Took Effect: September 12, 2016

“I have had very few complaints. After a phone call with the business we have gotten voluntary compliance, with no official enforcement. There were very little time spent enforcing this ordinance, probably just a couple 5 min phone calls.” – Nick Adams – Code Enforcement Officer.

Kennebunk
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: October 14, 2016

Topsham
Policy: Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% of food sales
Took Effect: May 7, 2017

“There have been no complaints and therefore no enforcement measures have had to be taken. I’ll attribute this to the businesses involved and that this was not a local one-off ordinance. Initially we did mail outs and follow up site visits to all the affected local businesses. Most were already in the process of the changeover, the others went along without issue. We post the ordinance on our web site but I can’t recall the last time someone had a question.” – Tom Lister – Code Enforcement Officer

Brunswick
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: September 1, 2017
 
Saco
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: October 1, 2017

“We have issued warnings to businesses in the past that were not in compliance with our ban and gave them a definitive time to come into compliance.  In all instances and to the best that we can determine, all of those that were warned came into compliance once we explained the ban and what the alternatives were to using these type of products.  My office conducted well over 100 visits to various businesses about a year and a half ago and found that we had an 80% compliance rate at the time of our first visit and then a 100% compliance when we returned about 4 weeks later. We have had one complaint filed since the start of the ordinance and were able to check it out.” – Kevin Sutherland – Saco City Administrator

Cape Elizabeth
Policy: Five-cent fee on single-use carryout bags at farm stands and stores where food generates at least 2 percent of overall sales
Took Effect: December 7, 2017

“This is a brand new ordinance. It went in to effect December 7th 2017. We do not have much data. I have spent no time enforcing it, only answering a few questions from businesses. No reports or complaints.” Benjamin McDouagal – Code Enforcement Officer.

Belfast
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: January 1, 2018

“We have had very few problems with our plastic bag ban. It was a smooth roll out. We sent out letters to every business in town a few months before the ordinance took effect. To my knowledge we have not had a single issue. People have reported violations of the foam ban though. We spend very little time enforcing this, I would say an hour per month.” – Joseph Slocum – Belfast City Manager

Bath
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: April 22, 2018

Rockland
Policy: Ban at all stores
TAKES Effect: January 1, 2019

Manchester
Policy: Ban at all stores
TAKES Effect: January 1, 2019

Blue Hill
Policy: Ban at all stores
Took Effect: Summer 2018

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