When you drive over the bridge from New Hampshire, signs on the highway proclaim "Welcome to Maine: The Way Life Should Be." Now this definition of the good life includes less plastic pollution.

On May 17, Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills signed a new law that requires large retailers and grocers to replace single-use plastic bags with reusable or paper bags, and institutes a minimum 5-cent fee on paper shopping bags.

“I’m proud of Gov. Mills and the Maine Legislature for putting wildlife over waste,” said Environment Maine State Director Carissa Maurin, who was at the signing. “Nothing we use for five minutes should be allowed to pollute our planet for hundreds of years.”

Few plastic bags are ever recycled, meaning nearly every plastic bag we use ends up clogging our landfills, polluting our environment and harming wildlife. But that picture will change in Maine on Earth Day 2020, when the new bag ban takes effect.

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Photo: Environment Maine State Director Carissa Maurin (2nd from left) looks on as Gov. Janet Mills signs the bill into law. Credit: Maine Legislature House Democratic Office.