As I walked in to Thomas College on Election Day, I wondered what kind of reception I would receive when I approached people to sign my petition to ask the Waterville City Council to ban plastic bags in various stores. The positive response was overwhelming. More than 300 Waterville residents signed the petition, which read, “Ban plastic grocery and shopping bags at Waterville businesses where food sales make up 2 percent or more of total sales. This would include grocery stores, convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, and other businesses that primarily sell food. Many businesses won’t be affected. Paper bags would still be available free of charge.”

Our goal is to reduce the amount of plastic grocery bags clogging our storm drains, littering our road sides, and collecting in our oceans. A ban would also reduce the amount of time our public works employees need to spend picking up litter in our public parks. Since plastic bags are not biodegradable, this pollution will remain forever. Although paper bags will still be available, we sincerely hope people will develop the habit of keeping reusable shopping bags in their cars and bringing these into the grocery store.

It was gratifying to know people join me in recognizing the multiple detriments caused by plastic grocery bags. On behalf of Sustain Mid Maine Coalition’s Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Team, thank you to those who support us in this endeavor. If you would like to learn more about our campaign, I invite you to attend one of our upcoming educational events. We will be showing the video “Bag It.” Go to sustainmidmainecoalition.org for dates and locations.

Let’s make Waterville the next place added to the list of 12 municipalities who have already adopted either a fee or a ban on plastic grocery bags.

Linda Woods

Waterville