2016-12-30 / Front Page

Plastic bag ban now law in Kennebunk

KENNEBUNK—Last June, Kennebunk residents voted to enact an ordinance banning single-use plastic carry out bags in the town.

That ban became effective Oct. 14 with little fanfare.

The new law stipulates no single-use plastic carry-out bag shall be distributed, either with or without charge, to a customer, at any retail establishment in Kennebunk.

Town officials say the intent of this ordinance is not to shift residents to using paper bags, rather to encourage the switch to reusable bags.

Ssingle-use plastic bags without handles, such as those used for dry cleaning, newspapers, wet items, and to protect produce, meat, seafood, and other bulk foods from damage or contaminating other items are allowed under this ordinance.

The Kennebunk Energy Efficiency Committee is encouraging shoppers to help the environment by bringing reusable bags when visiting retail shops in the town.  

According to a sgtudy conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, harmful effects of single-use plastic bags damages ghe environment.

The study says that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture and that the .average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.

The study reports that it takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Those bags don’t break down completely, but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.

A 2015 Waste Management survey reports that only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year and the rest ends up in landfills as litter.

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