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Maine bans single-use plastic grocery bags by Earth Day 2020

AUGUSTA, Maine >> Maine will ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores statewide by 2020, according to legislation signed by the governor Monday.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill with the goal of limiting plastic pollution, House Democrats said. The ban will come into effect by April 22, 2020, which is Earth Day.

Maine’s bill comes as municipalities and legislatures in many states have considered such bans. Vermont’s governor signed its own bill into law Monday, according to his office.

California, New York and all of Hawaii’s counties already ban plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maine will allow stores to charge at least 5 cents for recyclable paper or reusable plastic bags. In order to be permitted, plastic bags would have to withstand 75 repeated uses and be made from heavier plastic.

The fee wouldn’t apply to restaurants.

Plastic bag manufacturers say such bans will only lead to thicker, reusable bags in landfills.

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