Portland council to vote on polystyrene ban, bag fees

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland City Council will vote on two controversial ordinances Monday night.

One would charge five cents for disposable bags at stores that sell food. The other would ban plastic foam containers, also known as Styrofoam.

The proposals would ban restaurants from putting food in plastic foam containers and charge customers five cents for every paper or plastic bag. The fee would only apply to retailers that sell food, like grocers, convenience stores, and farmers markets. The fee would not apply to restaurants and dry cleaners. If the proposals pass, retailers will be able to keep the entire bag fee.

They are both contentious issues that have been widely debated in Portland for years . Sunday, people on both sides of the issue are trying to inform Portland residents about the consequences. Environmentalists held a clean up on Baxter Boulevard to draw attention to the issue.

"In the two hours that we had volunteers out here today we found hundreds of plastic bags and thousands of pieces of small Styrofoam," Todd Martin of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said. "So we think that ordinance would really help solve that problem."

The Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association and the Retail Association of Maine have been actively fighting the proposals.


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