Maine
Statewide
 
State Legislators have approved a ban on single-use plastic disposable shopping bags throughout the State of Maine effective April 22, 2020
 

Plastic bag reduction

1.  Definitions.   As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.

A.  "Plastic" means an organic or petroleum derivative synthetic or a semisynthetic organic solid that is moldable, and to which additives or other substances may have been added. "Plastic" does not include natural polymers that have not been chemically modified.

B.  "Point of sale" means a check-out stand, cash register or other point of departure from a retail establishment.

C.  "Post-consumer recycled material" means a recycled material that if not recycled would otherwise have been destined for solid waste disposal, having completed its intended end use and product life cycle. "Post-consumer recycled material" does not include materials and by­products generated from, and commonly reused in, an original manufacturing and fabrication process.

D.  "Recycled paper bag" means a paper bag that:

(1) Is 100% recyclable; and

(2) Contains at least 20% post-consumer recycled material if it has a capacity to hold at least 8 pounds,

E.  "Restaurant" means an establishment that sells prepared food directly to the consumer.

F.  "Retail establishment" means a store, a restaurant or a temporary business.

G.  "Reusable bag" means a bag with handles that:

(1) Is designed and manufactured to withstand a minimum of 75 repeated uses;

(2) Is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly;

(3) If made from plastic is at least 4 mils thick; and

(4) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.

H.  "Single-use carry-out bag" means a bag that is made of plastic, paper or other material provided by a retail establishment at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting merchandise away from the retail establishment and that is not a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag.

I.  "Store" means a retail store that engages in the retail sale of merchandise, including food, goods, products and clothing. "Store" includes grocery stores primarily engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fish and poultry and convenience stores engaged in the sale of a limited line of goods, including milk, bread, soda and snack foods, and prepared foods intended to be consumed off the premises.

J.  "Temporary business" means a seasonal or nonpermanent retail establishment such as a farmers' market or fair that sells merchandise including food, goods, products or clothing.

2.  Prohibition; exemptions.   This subsection governs the use of single-use carry-out bags.

A.  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, beginning April 22, 2020, a retail establishment may not provide a single-use carry-out bag to a customer at the point of sale or otherwise make single-use carry-out bags available to customers.

B.  The prohibition in paragraph A does not apply to:

(1) Bags provided by a pharmacy to a customer for transporting a prescription medication away from the store;

(2) Bags without handles used to protect items from being damaged or from damaging or contaminating other purchased items placed in a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag;

(3) Bags used by customers inside a retail establishment to package loose items, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, bakery goods, candy, greeting cards or small hardware items; to contain or wrap frozen foods, meats or fish; or to contain or wrap flowers or potted plants;

(4) Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags, including bags provided by a hotel to guests to contain wet or dirty clothing or bags provided to protect large garments like suits, jackets or dresses;

(5) Newspaper bags;

(6) Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended to contain garbage, pet waste or yard waste;

(7) Bags used to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in pet stores;

(8) Bags used for vehicle tires;

(9) Bags used to transport chemical pesticides, drain cleaning chemicals or other caustic chemicals sold at a retail establishment;

(10) Bags used by a hunger relief organization such as a food pantry or soup kitchen to distribute food directly to the consumer at no charge;

(11) Bags that customers bring to the retail establishment for their own use or for carrying away from the retail establishment goods that are not placed in a bag provided by the retail establishment.

C.  A retail establishment may make single-use carry-out bags made of plastic that are exempted in paragraph B available to customers to bag products within the retail establishment other than at the point of sale only if the retail establishment:

(1) Locates inside the retail establishment or within 20 feet of the main entrance to the retail establishment a receptacle for collecting any used single-use carry-out bags made of plastic; and

(2) Ensures that single-use carry-out bags made of plastic that are collected by the retail establishment are recycled or delivered to a person engaged in recycling plastics.

3.  Recycled paper bag fees and reusable plastic bag fees; exemptions.   This subsection governs fees assessed on recycled paper bags and on reusable bags made of plastic.A.  Beginning April 22, 2020 a retail establishment may use a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag made of plastic to bag products at the point of sale as long as the retail establishment charges a fee of at least 5¢ per bag.

(1) All amounts collected pursuant to this paragraph are retained by the retail establishment and may be used for any lawful purpose.

(2) A retail establishment may not rebate or otherwise reimburse a customer any portion of the fee charged pursuant to this paragraph.

B.  The requirement to charge a fee under paragraph A does not apply to:

(1) Stores at which less than 2% of retail sales are attributed to the sale of food and that have less than 10,000 square feet of retail area;

(2) Restaurants; or

(3) Hunger relief organizations engaged in distributing food directly to consumers at no charge.

A retail establishment exempt from charging a fee under this paragraph may charge a fee for a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag made of plastic.

4.  Violations.   A retail establishment that violates a provision of this section is subject to civil penalties under section 349.

5.  Preemption.   To ensure maximum effectiveness through uniform statewide application, the State intends to occupy the whole field of regulation of single-use carry-out bags at retail establishments beginning April 22, 2020. A local government may not adopt an ordinance regulating single-use carry-out bags at retail establishments and, beginning April 22, 2020, any ordinance or regulation that violates this subsection is void and has no force or effect.

 
What does the law do, and when does it take effect? 38 MRSA §1611 establishes a statewide ban on single-use plastic carry-out bags used to bag products at the point of sale in retail establishments, effective April 22, 2020.  Once the law is in effect, all carry-out bags provided or made available by the retailer at point-of-sale must be either a reusable bag or a recycled paper bag. In addition, retail establishments must charge a fee of at least 5¢ per carry-out bag for recycled paper bags and reusable bags made of plastic. 

 Who needs to comply with this law?  All retail establishments must comply with this law.  "Retail establishment" means a store, a restaurant or a temporary business, such as a farmers' market or fair where merchandise including food, goods, products or clothing is sold.
Question 3: Who does not need to comply with this law? Answer: Hunger relief organization such as food pantries or soup kitchens that distribute food directly to the consumer at no charge are exempted
from all aspects of this law. 

What carry-out bags can be used at point-of-sale when the law goes into effect?  Retail establishments may provide one of the following types of carry-out bag: 1. A "Reusable bag," which means a bag with handles that: (1) Is designed and manufactured to withstand a minimum of 75 repeated uses; (2) Is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (3) If made from plastic is at least 4 mils thick; and (4) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds. 2. A "Recycled paper bag," which means a paper bag that: (1) Is 100% recyclable; and (2) Contains at least 20% post-consumer recycled material if it has a capacity to hold at least 8 pounds. This means all paper bags that are large or sturdy enough to carry 8 pounds or more must
 
Bar Harbor
January 2019
Prohibits all establishments in Bar Harbor from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag specifically designed and manufactured for the repeated use of carrying food, beverage or merchandise, whether made of cloth, fiber or plastic; is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; has the capability of carrying 18 pounds or more; and, if plastic, is at least 4.0 mil thick.
Bath
April 2018
Prohibits all establishments in Bath from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 2.25 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: A. Is designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; B. Is washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; C. If plastic, has a minimum thickness of 2.25 mils, has handles, and has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee: April 22, 2018 - $0.05 per bag, April 22, 2019 - $.0.10 per bag, April 22, 2020 - $0.10
Belfast 
May 2018 
Prohibits all establishments in Belfast from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand 50 repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Is at least 4.0 mils thick, if made from plastic; and (d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Brunswick
September 2019 
Prohibits all establishments in Brunswick from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that is: (a) designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) at least 4.0 mil thick if made from plastic; (d) has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and (e) capable of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Camden
April 2019 
Prohibits all establishments in Camden from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that is: (a) designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) at least 4.0 mil thick if made from plastic; (d) has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and (e) capable of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper bag fee in Camden is $0.10.
Cape Elizabeth
December 2017
Prohibits all establishments in Cape Elizabeth from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 2.25 mil. Allows recycled paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that: (a) is designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time (b) is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly, (c) is at least 2.25 millimeters thick if made from plastic, has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses v. has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee in Cape Elizabeth is $0.05
Damariscotta
March 2019 
Prohibits all establishments in Damariscotta from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand 125 repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Is at least 4.0 mils thick, if made from plastic; and; (d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper bag fee in Damariscotta is $0.10.
Falmouth
April 2016
Prohibits all establishments in Falmouth from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Is at least 4 mil thick, if made from plastic; and (d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee in Falmouth is $0.10.
Freeport
September 2016
Prohibits all establishments in Freeport from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 2.25 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time;(b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and (d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee in Freeport is $0.05.
Kennebunk
October 2016
Prohibits all establishments in Kennebunk from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 3.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) and at least 3.0 mils thick.
Manchester
January 2019
Prohibits all establishments in Manchester from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 2.25 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and iv. Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
New Castle
March 20169
Prohibits all establishments in New Castle from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a  bag that meets all of the following criteria: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand 125 repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) Is at least 4.0 mils thick, if made from plastic; and; (d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee in New Castle is $0.10.
Portland
April 2015
Prohibits all establishments in Portland from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 2.25 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that is: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) That is at least 2.25 mil thick if made from plastic; (d) Has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and (e) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper and plastic bag fee in Portland is $0.05.
Rockland
March 2019
Prohibits all establishments in Rockland from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Single-use carryout paper bag  bag is defined as a paper bag provided at the check stand, cash register, point of sale or other point of departure for purposes of transporting food, food related merchandise and all non-food related merchandise out of the Store. Reusable bag means a bag that meets all of the following criteria:(a) Designed and manufactured to withstand 50 repeated uses over a period of time;(b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly;(c) Is at least four mils thick, if made from plastic; and(d) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Paper bag fee in Rockland is $0.05.
Saco
October 2017 
Plastic bags banned.
Reusable bag is defined as a bag with consumer carrying handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and is made of cloth, fiber or other machine washable fabric, but not plastic film.
South West Harbor
February 2019
Prohibits all establishments in South West Harbor from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that is: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) That is at least 4.0 mil thick if made from plastic; Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
Topsham
May 2017
Prohibits all establishments in Topsham from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 4.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as a bag that is: (a) Designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) That is at least 4.0 mil thick if made from plastic; (d) Has a minimum lifetime of 75 uses; and (e) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds
Paper and plastic bag fee in Topsham is $0.05.
York
March 2016
Prohibits all establishments in York from providing single-use plastic disposable shopping bags for the purpose of carrying away goods from the point of sale. Requires plastic bags to have a minimum thickness of 3.00 mil. Allows paper and reusable shopping bags. 
Reusable bag is defined as (a) bag that is designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time; (b) Is machine washable or, made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly; (c) that is at least 3.0 mil thick if made from plastic.
Relevant Links
Maine Bans Some Plastic Bags by Earth Day 2020- June 17,2019
 
Total Ban of Single-Use Bags in Belfast - May 4, 2018
Maine Environmentalists, Retailers And Grocers Back Bill Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags By 2022 - April 23, 2019

 

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