plastic bag ban

Maine Delays Plastic Bag Ban for Months Due to Pandemic

A man carry his groceries out of a Maine Hannaford in a plastic bag.
Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images, File

Maine is delaying by several months a statewide ban on single-use plastic carry-out bags that was scheduled to take effect in January.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection said it's delaying enforcement of the laws that ban the bags until July 1, 2021 — the measure was due to kick in on Jan. 15, 2021.

The department said in a statement that it's taking the delayed approach "in response to several practical and logistical effects of the COVID-19 pandemic." The pandemic has increased demand for curbside pickup of groceries and takeout food, the department said.

The department also cited the fact many retailers have asked customers to leave reusable bags at home.

Sarah Nichols, Sustainable Maine director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said the delay isn't "necessary or based on the best available science." She encouraged businesses to implement the changes on their own.

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