A Farewell to Single-Use Plastic Bags On Their Last Day In Maine
It's been lingering for some time but the day is nearly upon us. Today is the last day of the single-use plastic bag not being banned here in the State of Maine.
In 2019, the Maine Legislature set a date to ban the single-use carry-out plastic bags here in the State of Maine. We waited for April 22, 2020 to roll around for the official banning to begin but due to the pandemic, held off until now. And, now, with a long anticipation of the banning we must now change our ways.
We all have become accustomed to having the single-use plastic bag offered to us at grocery stores, convenience stores and nearly anywhere else you be items and need to bring them home, conveniently.
For the past month or so, I've been practicing for this new reality, trying to make a very conscious effort to have at least a few of my multitude of reusable bags in my car at all times. It hasn't been easy or that much of a success but, it's the new normal that I want in my life.
You could still use a plastic bag if it's offered but it'll cost you. And, frankly, it's all ready been 'costing us' for some time. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018 alone 4.2 million tons of plastic bags were created. Of that 0.74 million tons were converted into energy and 0.42 million tons were actually recycled. That means about 3 million tons still remains just from 2018. Where is it? Well, wherever it is, it'll take up to hundreds of years for it to decompose. Meanwhile, the resources and efforts to create the bags take away from a lot of resources that are, frankly, wasted if we can just commit to use reusable bags.
When it comes to what to expect for Mainer's, you do have the alternative of paper bags which I think is a great alternative. It's helpful to Maine's paper industry, it's product is easier to decompose which helps waste issues and, you still have a back up if you forgot your reusable bag.
This is an opportunity. Yeah, it means a little more change. But, it's better than standing still and watching the free thing we've been given, the earth, suffer because of our inability to change, just a little.