by Nathan Strout, Times Record Staff
Times Record news story
The city of Bath will celebrate Earth Day on Sunday by banning single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers.
The ordinance was approved by the city council in November 2017 with almost zero opposition. The long interim period between passage and the ordinance going into effect was to allow time for businesses to transition, residents to be educated on the new policy, and for the poetic nature of launching the ban on Earth Day.
“Single-use plastic bags are ubiquitous in our marketplace,” said the Bath Public Works Department in a statement. “However, the concept of manufacturing something that is intended for only a single use and then disposal, is wasteful, and contributes to a throwaway society. The Earth’s resources are not unlimited and therefore should be used to make things that are durable. Earlier generations supported this idea. Which means this is not a new concept but rather a return to a time of more deliberate use of resources.”
The ordinance bans single use plastic bags at the point of sale, and there will be a fee for single-use paper bags. The fee, starting April 22, will be 5 cents per bag, though it will increase annually until it’s 15 cents per bag in April 2020. There is also an exemption for plastic produce and product bags, which are used within businesses to handle meats and produce.
A companion ordinance also bans the use of polystyrene containers for the sale of prepared foods. The ordinance makes an exception for the sale of raw meat and raw or live seafood. Bath residents can still purchase polystyrene products for personal use as well — they just can’t be used in food sales.
The policies are intended to encourage the use of reusable bags in lieu of single use plastic bags. To that end, the city will be making 3,500 reusable bags with the city’s logo available at several points in the city. Some businesses, such as Now You’re Cooking, will also be giving away reusable bags this weekend to help residents with the transition.
• THE ORDINANCE bans single-use plastic bags at the point of sale, and there will be a fee for single-use paper bags. The fee, starting April 22, will be 5 cents per bag, though it will increase annually until it’s 15 cents per bag in April 2020.