On the very same day last week, the Governors of Maine and Vermont both passed legislation to ban single-use plastic bags, making them the fourth and fifth US states to do so.

Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed LD 1532 on Monday, stating that “a retail establishment may not provide a single-use carry-out bag to a customer at the point of sale or otherwise make single-use carry-out bags available to customers.”

The bill will apply to the sale of single-use plastic bags in grocery stores, although supermarkets must charge 5 cents for recyclable paper bags or reusable plastic bags that can withstand at least 75 uses. Restaurants and charities, however, are exempt from the fee.

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The ban also excludes single-use plastic bags that are used for special purposes, such as loose produce and food; live animals or insects sold in pet stores; and bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended to contain garbage, pet waste, or yard waste.

In order to give businesses enough time to adapt to the law, the bill is set to go into full effect on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2020.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott (R) approved bill S. 113, which implements similar bans, except the legislation goes one step further by prohibiting restaurants, bars, and food retailers from giving away straws and polystyrene containers.

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The ban is set to go into full effect in July 2020.

Other US cities and national businesses have passed similar legislation to ban single-use plastic bags, but these latest measures mean that that Maine and Vermont have now joined California, New York, and Hawaii as the first US states to approve bans on single-use plastic bags.

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