Maine And Vermont Banned Plastic Bags In The Same Day

Vermont's bill is the most comprehensive plastic ban yet.

Governors from Maine and Vermont signed bans on plastic bags into law just hours apart from each other.

Maine's new law comes just weeks after it prohibited the use of styrofoam in the state in early May. Its ban will go into effect on Earth Day, April 22, 2020. Vermont's prohibition will go into effect July of 2020 and goes beyond just plastic bags — it also bans food establishments from giving out polystyrene products or plastic straws to customers. 

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The two states become the fourth and fifth in the United States to ban certain plastics from being distributed by food establishments. Each state opted to give businesses time to adjust to the new regulation.

"Today, we took an important step towards protecting the wildlife and landscapes that support Maine's economy," Rep. Holly Stover, who sponsored the bill in Maine, said in a statement. "With the governor's signature on this bill, we will be limiting the plastic bags that enter our coastal waters and protecting the health of our marine life."

Some bag manufacturers have argued that a ban on plastic bags will only leave restaurants and food distributors using thicker bags that will fill up landfills faster, according to the Associated Press. So Vermont added language into its legislation that banned plastic bags without a stitched handle, making it more cost effective for companies to produce carryout bags made from cloth, National Geographic reported

As states in America begin to pass legislation limiting the use and distribution of various plastics, places all over the world have similarly begun phasing plastics out. Africa has been leading the way on plastic bans globally and one of the UK's biggest supermarkets recently announced that it would remove plastic from loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items. Other major, global corporations like McDonald's and Starbucks have announced they would stop using plastic straws as well. 

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