Maine, Vermont pass plastic bag bans on same day

Maine, Vermont pass plastic bag bans on same day
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Governors in Maine and Vermont on Monday signed bills into law that ban single-use plastic bags, making them the fourth and fifth states to pass such legislation.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a measure that says “a retail establishment may not provide a single-use carry-out bag to a customer at the point of sale or otherwise make single-use carry-out bags available to customers.”

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However, the law provides some exceptions, such as when pharmacies provide bags for transporting medications or when pet stores offer bags for carrying fish or insects.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed legislation that similarly prohibits food establishments from providing plastic carryout bags but also bars polystyrene food service products and plastic straws from being distributed to customers.

The law includes exemptions similar to the ones in Maine's statute.

The Vermont measure also calls on the state’s Agency of Natural Resources “to convene a working group to assess the progress of municipal implementation of single-use carryout plastic bag bans.”

The single-use plastic bag ban in Maine is slated to take effect April 22, to coincide with Earth Day. The ban in Vermont will take effect in July 2020.