The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that it would, for the second time this year, be delaying a new law aimed at reducing plastic pollution by limiting the use of single-use plastic shopping bags. DEP also decided to delay a new law that would have prohibited foam food containers.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine released the following statement from Sustainable Maine Director Sarah Nichols in response to DEP’s delays:
“We do not believe this delay is necessary or based on the best available science. We would encourage businesses to implement these measures to reduce plastic pollution as called for in Maine law because it is the right thing to do for our environment. That’s what is happening in other states, such as Vermont, Connecticut, New York, and Oregon, that have all moved forward with the transition to reusable bags without delay.
A blanket waiver is entirely unnecessary and inconsistent with Maine’s strong environmental ethic. If there are genuine supply chain issues with some materials for some stores, then enforcement discretion should be based on documentation to the DEP about such issues.
Maine people and small businesses want to be part of the solution to the plastic pollution problem. These laws were put in place to help protect Maine’s clean water and outdoor spaces that provide the foundation for the state’s tourism, recreation, and natural resource-based industries. Reducing society’s addiction to single-use plastics is a necessary step in combating climate change and protecting ocean wildlife including birds and fish.”
To learn more about plastic pollution visit: www.nrcm.org/programs/sustainability/plastic-pollution/