I am writing in response to the Feb. 28 column “Bag ban is ‘people control'” about our community effort to ban plastic shopping bags at certain businesses in Waterville. Since the author, Dan Libby, has some outdated inaccuracies, I would like to correct the record.

During the Community Notes portion of Waterville City Council meeting on Feb. 6, Todd Martin from Sustain Mid Maine Coalition’s Plastic Bag Committee working on this local ordinance provided an update on our recent decision. After attending the South End Neighborhood Association monthly meeting in January and getting feedback on our campaign from our community, we decided to propose a plastic bag ban for only Waterville businesses with 10,000 square feet or more since most plastic bags come from Waterville grocery stores and big-box stores. This was reported to the council by Martin on Feb. 6. The Waterville City Council can either accept and pass this ordinance or put it on the November ballot to let voters decide.

It costs Waterville businesses money to hand out plastic bags for free at checkout. Hannaford pays $32 for a box of 2,000. That’s 1.6 cents per bag. Imagine how much money Hannaford and other large stores would save if plastic bags were banned. We are encouraging people to bring a reusable shopping bag to the store instead of using plastic bags. However, paper bags will still be available at checkout. Our ordinance does not in any way limit the use of paper bags. In fact, if folks wanted to bring plastic shopping bags to the store from a previous shopping trip, they would be welcome to do that.

I do agree with Libby’s final point — we should actually enforce our litter control laws already in place. Better yet, let’s encourage people not to litter.

Linda Woods


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