Lynn and Mark Klinger finish their grocery shopping on Wednesday, using reusable bags. Saying there’s too much plastic waste, they expressed support for the state’s new ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. The ban takes effect next year. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — As Lynn and Mark Klinger loaded groceries into their car, they smiled about the fact that they didn’t use any plastic grocery bags.

All six bags were reusable. “No plastic bags. Except for the produce,” Mark said.

The Klingers support new Maine laws that will outlaw single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers, starting in 2020 and 2021, respectively. There’s too much plastic, too much waste, they said.

“If we didn’t do something about that, we were really being silly,” Lynn said. “We’ve got to step up. We grew up when there wasn’t plastic bags. There wasn’t plastic diapers.”

Also shopping in the area last week, Carolyn and Robert Lynch of Lewiston said they too support the new law banning plastic grocery bags.

“We’re polluting our oceans. We shouldn’t be doing that,” she said. Not being able to use plastic bags next year may be inconvenient, she said, “but it’s necessary.”

Single-use plastic bags have been the standard with grocery shoppers in Maine.

“They’re everywhere,” Robert added. 

“I try to remember my (reusable) bags, which I usually forget,” Carolyn said, adding that well-meaning store employees sometimes use too many bags to wrap and bag groceries. “I wish they could keep some of the bags. We needed maybe two bags, but we got six. By the time you say, ‘No I don’t need that,’ they’ve already got it packed.”

“They put bags of potatoes in bags,” Robert noted.

Overall, there’s too much plastic and packaging being used by everyone, she said. “You go to McDonald’s and it’s plastic. What happened to old-fashioned paper cups we used to have? Why don’t they do it like they used to? What happened to butcher paper? We don’t need all the plastic and the Styrofoam.” 

Loreena Lindberg of Winthrop was pushing her cart filled with groceries in plastic bags. Well-aware that on April 22, 2020, the plastic bags will no longer be available, she grinned and said, “I’m saving them.”

“Yes, I agree with no plastic bags,” Lindberg said. “They say they’re bad for the environment. They fly around. They never dissolve.”

An elderly couple who declined to give their names were also using plastic bags for their groceries. They said they have reusable bags, but those bags are from Hannaford and they were shopping at Shaw’s. They didn’t want to insult the store they were patronizing.

“I’m 100 percent for the plastic bag ban,” he said. “They last forever. You can’t get rid of them.”

His wife agreed. “Everything is plastic. We’re being poisoned by plastic.”


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