Damariscotta’s ban on plastic shopping bags, which voters approved Nov. 6, 2018, will take effect Friday, March 1.
The goal of the ban is to protect the environment and the local fishing, shellfish, and tourist industries, according to the ordinance. Damariscotta businesses have been preparing for the ban and will implement it in different ways.
Jane Gravel, who owns Main Street Grocery with her husband, Gary Gravel, said the store used the last of its single-use plastic bags Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The grocery store will now use exclusively paper bags, at no cost to the customer.
“We’re going to handle that on our end and not charge our customers,” she said.
The store will sell five types of reusable bags, which range in price from $1.19 to $6.99 each.
Hannaford Supermarket has signs reminding customers of the upcoming ban. The signs say the store will now charge 5 cents per paper bag.
Rising Tide Community Market does not expect any changes, since it stopped using plastic bags around a year ago, according to buyer Shannon Bailey.
The store already uses paper bags and charges 25 cents for the large paper bags with handles. It has reusable bags for sale and a “borrow a bag” program that allows shoppers to borrow and return reusable bags.
Downtown, Fisherman’s Catch Seafood Market is encouraging customers to bring their own containers or reusable bags.
Manager Jaime Moore said that while the market does not use many single-use plastic bags, paper bags are not a good option because “everything has to be on ice, and cold and wet.”
The market will still use thin plastic bags to put fish in, but can wrap filets in paper packaging.
Other than asking people to bring in containers, Moore said she is open to suggestions on how else to have customers transport their fish home.
“I guess I just don’t even know what to do,” she said. “I would love some ideas.”