Plastic bag, polystyrene ban starts April 22

Date: March 21, 2018
450 Oak Grove Ave
Bath, Maine 04530

The City of Bath Department of Public Works reminds the Bath community that a prohibition on the use of single use plastic bags and polystyrene containers goes into effect on Earth Day, April 22, 2018.  All businesses in Bath that distribute these bags at the point of sale (cash register) must discontinue their use.  Businesses that choose to substitute paper bags must begin charging a fee of 5-cents per bag.  This fee increases to 10-cents per bag on April 22, 2019, and to 15-cents per bag on April 22, 2020.  Businesses may also choose to offer, free or for sale, reusable bags to their customers.  To qualify as reusable, the bag must meet these specifications:

  • Be made of a material that can be washed or disinfected
  • Is designed to be used multiple times
  • Is capable of carrying a minimum of 18 pounds
  • If plastic, must be at least 2.25 mils in thickness

The City will be kicking-off the reusable bag effort by supplying 3,500 bags into the community.  Multiple distribution points are planned.  The public is encouraged to visit local retailers to get a “Bath Bag”.    These bags are distinguished from other reusable bags in the marketplace by the use of the City logo modified to say “Bath Bag”.  The bags are blue and are recyclable themselves.

Single use plastic bags are ubiquitous in our marketplace.  However the concept of manufacturing something that is intended for only a single use and then disposal, is wasteful, and contributes to a throw-away society.  The earth’s resources are not unlimited and therefore should be used to make things that are durable.  Earlier generations supported this idea.  Which means this is not a new concept but rather a return to a time of more deliberate use of resources.

Paper bags are generally thought to be more environmentally benign than plastic bags.  They are easily recycled and even composted, and they are made of a sustainable raw material.  However the manufacturing of paper bags requires significant inputs of water, chemicals, and fossil fuels.  They are also heavier than plastic requiring additional fuel to deliver them to retailers.  No paper bags are manufactured in Maine so no local jobs are lost.  However, paper bags were not banned in order to preserve a choice for the consumer.  Fees collected by retailers for the sale of paper bags area sales tax exempt (according to Maine Revenue Services) and the fee revenue is kept by the retailer.

Polystyrene containers may no longer be offered for use in sales of prepared foods, such as take-out service.  Businesses are required to substitute containers made from alternative materials and are encouraged to select materials that are sustainable, compostable, recyclable, and/or reusable.  Exceptions are the sale of raw meats and raw or live seafood.

Exceptions to the plastic bag ban are for produce or product bags.  These are plastic bags without handles used within a business to keep items such as produce, meats, seafood, or prescriptions separate from each other and not offered at the point of sale.  All businesses are impacted except fairs, festivals, craft or flea markets, or other events of an infrequent or short term nature.

For further information contact Bath Public Works at 443-8357 or check the City’s website,, or Facebook page or Twitter feed.



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Bath Bag