Single-Use Plastic Bans Coming to Maine, Philadelphia

Laws go into effect in July
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Single Use Plastic Bans Coming in Maine, Philadelphia
Grocers in Maine can no longer provide single-use plastic bags to pack groceries.

Single-use plastic bags may be gone with the wind that often carries them away. As legislation and debate on the long-simmering issue continues in many parts of the country, retailers in Maine will not be able to provide single-use plastic bags for packing groceries after July 1.

Shoppers in that state are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags and can pay five cents for paper bags to be used to pack their groceries at checkout. If grocers do offer plastic bags for bulk goods like produce and bakery items, they must serve as a public plastic bag recycling drop-off location.

The ban on single-use plastic bags in Maine was supposed to go into effect last year but was delayed due to the pandemic. Concerns about virus transmission and, later, supply chain issues, put a halt to the April 2020 implementation date.

Elsewhere, a long-discussed and pandemic-delayed ban on plastic grocery bags will be implemented in Philadelphia on July 1, with a full retailer compliance date of Oct. 1. New Jersey’s legislature passed a plastic bag law last fall, with a May 2022 deadline.  

Around the country, at least eight states and several local governments have laws in place to eliminate plastic bags or charge for them to encourage the use of reusable totes and bags. To help retailers understand the nuances of the bans, some government bodies are offering educational sessions and materials that detail what kinds of bags are allowed and not allowed and how to comply.

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