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Home | Current News and Features | Limits on single-use bags, Styrofoam packaging a step in the right direction for Topsham

Limits on single-use bags, Styrofoam packaging a step in the right direction for Topsham

We are Topsham residents who support local ballot initiatives #1 and #2. We take this position because we believe that pervasive fossil fuel substances like plastic bags and Styrofoam adversely affect the health of our environment and the health of the living creatures which depend on it. Ballot issue #1 would impose a five-cent fee on each single-use plastic or paper bag used to package our purchases at checkout in stores with greater than two percent food sales. This small fee when imposed in other Maine communities has resulted in an increase in the use of reusable bags—without causing undue hardship. Ballot issue #2 would prohibit the use of polystyrene foam food and beverage containers. There are reasonably priced alternatives to these materials, and most Topsham restaurants have already chosen to use them. We know that passage of these ordinances will not solve all the problems of pervasive environmental plastic and Styrofoam because the problem is too large for one small community to address. However, if we join other communities in limiting these pollutants, we can begin to make a difference. Portland, South Portland, York, Falmouth, and Freeport are communities that have already adopted similar ordinances. We can join their effort. With passage of these initiatives, individuals will be encouraged to bring their own bags to grocery stores when they shop. If they do, they will avoid the five cent fee. Portland’s Hannaford grocery store noted that the percentage of customers who came with their own bags went from about 10% to more than 80% after implementation of these ordinances. Millions of single-use bags were kept out of the waste stream in Portland. Concern for low income residents has led to a provision of the bag ordinance in Topsham that gives SNAP recipients a grace period of one year before a fee is charged. Also, a local group, Midcoast BYOB, has raised money to give away five thousand bags that will be distributed through local agencies. We urge our fellow citizens to support these initiatives on November 8th. We care about our community and know that you do, too. Please vote. Lynne and Edward Caswell More detailed information about these specific ordinances with more information about the economic and environmental reasons for accepting them is available at a local site, bringyourownbag.info

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