Blue Hill has officially eliminated single use plastic shopping bags town-wide in an effort to lessen environmental impacts. With an alarming amount of plastic finding its way to our oceans there’s a push now more than ever to find alternatives for the various products the majority of our society is using on a daily basis. Disposable plastic bags, which has been the go-to for convenience since 1965 when Celloplast received a patent on the “T-shirt plastic bag” is having drastic effects on marine life worldwide, so it’s no surprise coastal communities are beginning to take notice and take action.
Blue Hill isn’t the only community in Maine that’s rising above the single use bag. Brunswick, Topsham, Bath, Rockland, Kennebunk, Saco, Freeport, Cape Elizabeth, York, Falmouth, and South Portland all have regulations in effect, often charging for plastic bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags. Most communities found little to no confrontation to the ban and residents easily adapted to the new way of grocery shopping.
While reusable shopping bags aren’t a new idea for consumers to adapt to, making them the new “norm” will likely take some time and adjusting for everyone. This paradigm shift may be especially challenging for the summer residents and tourists in Blue Hill who might be unaware when walking into stores like Tradewinds that they won’t be leaving with their groceries in plastic bags. It is likely that the absence of plastic bags will be noticed in both positive and negative opinions in the coming months as the reliance on the bags diminish and new habits form. While the direct impact of this program may not be as visible as one may hope, it’s a small part of a global effort toward a cleaner, greener future.