Let’s follow the example of 12 other Maine municipalities and create an ordinance to ban single-use plastic shopping bags in Waterville.

For once, we have a simple problem with a simple solution. The problem is single-use plastic shopping bags. The solution is to ban them. Why are they a problem? They don’t look like a problem; they look like a way for me to transport my stuff. I can use them to line wastebaskets, or stash a dirty diaper or a wet swimsuit, and they’re free from the grocery store. They even have handles.

Here’s the problem. Single-use plastic shopping bags are a form of pollution. The city of Waterville is unable to recycle these bags, so they go to the landfill. At least some of them do. During one trash cleanup day in Waterville, approximately 60 bags were picked up between North Street playground and the Quarry Road.

Reusability is limited because they aren’t very strong. Many of us have experienced bags ripping and groceries scattered in the driveway. And to top it all off, this product is made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource.

So there it is. Single-use plastic shopping bags are a form of pollution. They become litter in parks and waterways damaging habitat for wildlife and yes for people. They are made from a nonrenewable resource. The city is unable to recycle them.

What more do we need to know? Let your city councilor know that you are in favor of an ordinance to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. Let’s get with the program and show the rest of Maine that Waterville is the forward-thinking, progressive city we know it to be.

Marian Flaherty


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