Maine’s Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban *New Effective Date 1/15/21

Maine’s bag ban law will be delayed until January 15, 2021. The state also occupies the field of regulation starting March 17, 2020. What that means is that current state law has no plastic bag bans or fees at retail. Retailers can use whatever bags are necessary and not have to collect fees during this crisis.

To view the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s statement, visit their website.

In light of concerns about the use of multi-use bags during the current COVID 19 public health crisis, the Legislature’s response to those concerns in L.D. 2167, and effects on Department resources, the Department will not be enforcing the statewide restrictions on the use of single-use bags in 38 M.R.S. ยง 1611 until January 15, 2021. As of March 17, 2020, State law preempts municipal regulation of single use bags; no local ordinance requiring a fee for, or otherwise restricting the use of, single use bags is in effect.”

So, retailers can use whatever bags they choose and they do not have to charge a fee. As to the issue of whether or not you want to refuse reusable bags, that is up to the individual retailer. CDC guidance provides that the risk of exposure from reusable bags is low.