The Brunswick Town Council voted 8-1 on Monday, March 20, to ban Brunswick retailers from providing single-use plastic bags. The ordinance will go into effect September 1. Most representatives supported the ban to limit the impact of single-use plastic bags on the environment. Several local retailers spoke out against the ban, worrying that it would force them to supply more paper bags, the Forecaster reported. Paper bags are costlier than plastic bags and require more storage space.
Green Bowdoin worked with the Midcoast Maine group Bring Your Own Bag to campaign in favor of the ban. Elena Mersereau ’18, the leader of Green Bowdoin, was excited that the ban was passed. She had thought that the town would provide a monetary incentive to decrease bag usage rather than a full ban.
Mersereau acknowledged that the ban has drawbacks for local retailers, but hopes that it will make people more mindful about bringing reusable bags to the stores.
“I think really it will make people more conscious when they go to the grocery store, so they aren’t just passively accepting what’s the norm,” she said.
Green Bowdoin and Bring Your Own Bag both plan on continuing to push for fees for paper bags, whose production requires more energy and produces more water toxins than plastic bags. Still, Mersereau thinks the ban is a good first step.
“It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for everyone, but in the long run it makes such a big statement,” Mersereau said.