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With state law pending, Recycling Committee eyes revision or repeal of town plastic-bag ordinance

The Recycling Committee, well familiar with the "3-R" practices of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, will soon have a different set of Rs on its agenda.

The Town Council on March 9, 2020 charged the committee with drafting a recommendation to review, revise or repeal town regulations on single-use plastics and food containers pending state regulations that go into effect April 22.

Town regulations require businesses that sell food in Cape Elizabeth to charge a 5-cent fee for single-use bags issued to customers, and prohibit polystyrene foam food containers. The provision was added to the Health and Sanitation ordinance in November 2017, and mirror those that were already in effect in Portland and South Portland.

The new state law, signed by Gov. Janet Mills in June, prohibits point-of-sale distribution of single-use plastic bags at retail establishments throughout Maine.

Cape Elizabeth is one of at least 25 Maine municipalities to have enacted a plastic-bag ban, which will be pre-empted by the state law. The new law becomes effective on Earth Day, April 22.

The Recycling Committee's work on drafting and helping enact the town ordinance earned the committee recognition as one of ecomaine's 2018 eco-Excellence award winners. [news article]