An Act To Eliminate Single-use Plastic Carry-out Bags
Sec. 1. 38 MRSA §1605, first ¶, as repealed and replaced by PL 1991, c. 475, §1, is amended to read:
A As provided in section 1611, a retailer may use plastic bags to bag products other than at the point of retail sale only if the retailer:
Sec. 2. 38 MRSA §1611 is enacted to read:
§ 1611. Plastic bag reduction
(1) Is 100% recyclable; and
(2) Contains at least 20% post-consumer recycled material if it has a capacity to hold at least 8 pounds,
(1) Is designed and manufactured to withstand 75 repeated uses;
(2) Is machine washable or made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected regularly;
(3) If made from plastic is at least 4 mils thick; and
(4) Has the capability of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds.
(1) Bags provided by a pharmacy to a customer for transporting a prescription medication away from the store;
(2) Bags without handles used to protect items from being damaged or from damaging or contaminating other purchased items placed in a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag;
(3) Bags used by customers inside a retail establishment to package loose items, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, bakery goods, candy, greeting cards or small hardware items; to contain or wrap frozen foods, meats or fish; or to contain or wrap flowers or potted plants;
(4) Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags, including bags provided by a hotel to guests to contain wet or dirty clothing or bags provided to protect large garments like suits, jackets or dresses;
(5) Newspaper bags;
(6) Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended to contain garbage, pet waste or yard waste;
(7) Bags used to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in pet stores;
(8) Bags used for vehicle tires;
(9) Bags used to transport chemical pesticides, drain cleaning chemicals or other caustic chemicals sold at a retail establishment;
(10) Bags used by a hunger relief organization such as a food pantry or soup kitchen to distribute food directly to the consumer at no charge;
(11) Bags that customers bring to the retail establishment for their own use or for carrying away from the retail establishment goods that are not placed in a bag provided by the retail establishment.
(1) All amounts collected pursuant to this paragraph are retained by the retail establishment and may be used for any lawful purpose.
(2) A retail establishment may not rebate or otherwise reimburse a customer any portion of the fee charged pursuant to this paragraph;
(3) A retail establishment that sells a recycled paper bag to bag products at the point of sale may not charge for the bag if a customer uses an electronic benefits transfer card or a payment card or voucher issued by the State for the federal supplemental nutrition program under Title 22, section 3104 or the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Food Program of the United States Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to pay for the customer's products.
(1) Stores at which less than 2% of retail sales are attributed to the sale of food and that have less than 10,000 square feet of retail area;
(2) Restaurants; or
(3) Hunger relief organizations engaged in distributing food directly to consumers at no charge.
A retail establishment exempt from charging a fee under this paragraph may charge a fee for a recycled paper bag.
This bill prohibits a retail establishment from using single-use carry-out bags to bag products at the point of sale or otherwise make single-use carry-out bags available to customers, with exemptions for certain types and uses of plastic and paper bags. Retail establishments may provide recyclable paper bags to bag products at the point of sale for at least 5¢ per bag, with exceptions to the fee requirement for certain types of retail establishments. The prohibition is effective April 22, 2020.