Shoppers and stores prepare for statewide plastic bag ban

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 12:06 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Get ready to bring your own bags or pay up. New changes are on the way for many shops and grocery stores throughout the state.

Say goodbye to single use plastic bags. By July 1st all retail stores in Maine will shift to reusable bags. Grocery stores like Graves Shop n save and Star City IGA are working to adapt to the changes.

“Plastic bags and our poly trays are being banned; we’re not allowed to use them anymore,” Brandon Hopkins, Assistant Manager at Graves’ Shop n Save said. “So, we’ve been building up a back stock of our paper bags, and we’re also building up a back stock of our reusable bags. We’re hoping that all of our customers will come in with the reusable bags, mostly so we don’t have to go with paper anymore and for our customers to avoid the 5-cent fee that’s associated with the paper bags.”

“It’s going to be a change of mindset and a change of process to always make sure that you bring your bags in and those type of things,” Micah Desmond, Manager at Star City IGA said. “We’re going to do the best we can to help people with that process and to be mindful of what’s going on.”

The ban was originally scheduled to go into effect in April of 2020. Due to the pandemic, it was postponed until January 15th 2021. As the pandemic lingered, it was delayed once again and moved to July 1st. For shoppers like Lewis Sandler, the change is welcomed.

“I love it because I always bring my own bags anyways so it’s nothing new.”

In the meantime, stores have already stopped ordering plastic bags and are putting their extras to good use.

“We got our stock down to our last little bit. We’re only ordering what we need to get us through the next couple of days. So, we should run out either the day of or even a couple days before this takes effect,” Hopkins said.

We’ll just kind of work through our stock the best we can hoping to use what we have. We actually talked with one group yesterday that we were able to donate some to that they were using for the food pantry,” Desmond said. “They’re not under the same guidelines that we are so they can still use those which will be able to be used in the community and to help out. Kind of let us not necessarily throw anything away, but they can be put to a use in the community.”

With changes looming, both stores say they will do their best to help customers adapt.

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