The Chamber is disseminating the information below in order to keep our members informed about any upcoming legislation that might impact their businesses.
“Two of the first 199 bills to come before the Maine legislature pertain to plastics, referenced below. The bill to phase out the use of plastic bags is scheduled for a hearing January 25th by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. The polystyrene (generic for Styrofoam) bill does not have a hearing date yet, although it will probably go to the same committee.”
An Act to Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers
The purpose of this bill is to protect the environment and wildlife of the State and to reduce the increasing costs of litter collection and solid waste disposal by prohibiting the sale or distribution of disposable polystyrene food service containers, which constitute a sizable portion of nondegradable litter and solid waste in the State and which fragment into smaller, nondegradable pieces that may harm marine life and other wildlife through ingestion.
Beginning January 1, 2018, this bill prohibits the sale or distribution, at retail or wholesale, in the State of disposable food service containers composed in whole or in part of polystyrene foam, as well as disposable food service containers that are not recyclable or compostable unless there is no recyclable or compostable product available at a comparable cost. This bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules to implement these statutory provisions.
An Act to Phase out the Use of Single-use Plastic Shopping Bags
This bill prohibits a retailer from using plastic bags to bag products at the point of retail sale or otherwise make plastic bags available to customers, with exceptions for certain types of plastic bags. This prohibition is effective September 1, 2020. A retailer may provide recyclable paper bags to bag products at the point of sale and must provide reusable bags for purchase by a customer. The bill also makes changes to existing law regarding retailer collection and recycling of used plastic bags to ensure consistency with the implementation of the plastic bag prohibition.
Referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Jan 11, 2017.