When stores routinely hand out an unlimited number of single-use disposable bags, we end up creating a lot of unnecessary waste. Moving away from our reliance on single-use disposal shopping bags is a common-sense way to discourage wastefulness and prevent windswept plastic litter. Simply reminding people that it’s a good idea to shop with reusable bags isn’t enough to solve this problem and there are more effective approaches your town can take. Join hundreds of other communities by creating a program that offers an incentive for people to shop with reusable bags.
Want to make reusable bags out of t-shirts? Use our handy how-to sheet to learn how to recycle your t-shirts into new reusable bags! This is a great project for your local Scout troops, environmental clubs, and other student groups.
Below is a full list of Maine towns that have passed bag ordinances.
We will continue to update this list as more towns and municipalities pass new ordinances. If you have information about a Maine town not on this list, please email us at email@example.com.
|Maine Municipality||Basic Ordinance Structure||Date Implemented|
|Portland||Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales||April 15, 2015|
|South Portland||Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales||March 1, 2016|
|York||Ban on all plastic carryout bags||March 1, 2016|
|Falmouth||Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores that are 10,000 square feet and larger||April 1, 2016|
|Freeport||Ban on plastic bags and five-cent fee on paper bags at stores with greater than 2% food sales. It does not affect retailers.||September 12, 2016|
|Kennebunk||Ban on all plastic carryout bags||October 14, 2016|
|Topsham||Five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags at stores with greater than 2% of food sales||May 7, 2017|
|Brunswick||Ban on single-use plastic bags||September 1, 2017|
|Saco||Ban on single-use plastic bags||October 1, 2017|
|Cape Elizabeth||Five-cent fee on single-use carryout bags at farm stands and stores where food generates at least 2 percent of overall sales||December 6, 2017|
|Belfast||Ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene carryout containers||January 1, 2018|
|Bath||Ban on single-use plastic bags, five-cent fee on paper bags with escalating fee to 15 cents after third year||April 22, 2018|
|Manchester||Ban on single-use plastic bags||July 1, 2018|
|Blue Hill||Ban on single-use plastic bags||June 2018|
|Rockland||Ban on single-use plastic bags and foam containers||January 1, 2019|
|Bar Harbor||Ban on single-use plastic bags||February 14, 2019|
|Damariscotta||Ban on single-use plastic bags||March 1, 2019|
|Newcastle||Ban on single-use plastic bags||March 1, 2019|
|Southwest Harbor||Ban on single-use plastic bags||April 22, 2019|
|Camden||Ban on single-use plastic bags||April 30, 2019|
|Mount Desert||Ban on single-use plastic bags||May 8, 2019|
|Biddeford||Ban on single-use plastic bags||Takes effect on July 15, 2019|
|Waterville||Ban on single-use plastic bags at retail stores of 10,000 square feet or more||Takes effect on September 1, 2019|
|Tremont||Ban on single-use plastic bags||Takes effect on October 21, 2019|
Other Reusable Bag Resources
- Bring Your Own Bag York website: An excellent example of a community focused citizen run information hub regarding the reusable bag policy.
- Bring Your Own Bag Waterville website: An excellent example of a community focused citizen run information hub regarding the reusable bag policy.
- Portland, Maine’s Green Scene website: Detailed information provided by the City of Portland about their bag and foam policies
- Baglaws.com: a resource about laws related to plastic and paper bags across the United States
- Montgomery County, Maryland website : Comprehensive information about the bag program in Montgomery County, Maryland, which applies to 21 municipalities
- Environmental impact comparison between plastic and paper bags: This is a summary of overall environmental impacts between plastic and paper bags, using a compilation of various studies.
- “What is a ‘Reusable’ Bag?”: Information and definitions related to single-use and reusable bags
- Hannaford position letter on Portland’s bag ordinance
- NRCM blog post: “Five cents for a disposable bag? No thanks, I’ve brought my own!”
- New York Times editorial: “Ten cents a bag? That’s about right.“
- Washington Post blog: “The surprising reason why those 5 cent charges for plastic bags actually work”
- The Majestic Plastic Bag—A Mockumentary: This four-minute YouTube video cleverly explains what happens to a plastic bag in the environment.
- List of U.S. municipalities with bag ordinances, compiled by Portland’s Green Packaging Task Force
- List of all municipal bag ordinances, from the Surfrider Foundation website