Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mainers Urged To Cut Back On Plastic Grocery Bags

April 2, 2008

Chris Rose

AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Legislature, Governor Baldacci, the Department of Environmental Protection and the grocery industry are all supporting an initiative that calls on people to cut their use of plastic bags in half by Earth Day.

A shopper can take home more than a dozen plastic bags everytime he or she goes to the grocery store. Some get recycled and re-used, but many don't.

"Every single cleanup that the DEP does we find these bags strewn on the banks of streams, brooks, we find them on the tops and bottoms of lakes and streams," said DEP Commisioner David Littell.

People in the grocery business say there appears to be growing momentum for reusable bags.

Right now they say about one of every ten shoppers bring their own bags to the store. It's a stretch trying to increase that to five out of every ten in just three weeks.

But that's what some state leaders are calling for in their Earth Day initiative.

"With Earth Day coming up we thought it was a really good benchmark; an opportunity to showcase this issue and what we want is to try and encourage public spiritedness in the family, among individuals to start bringing their own bags if they haven't already," said State Representative Ted Koffman.

No matter what the ratio, the use of reusable bags is expected to increase in the coming years.

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