Portland’s Disposable Bag and Foam Packaging Ordinances

June 17th Update: Portland council adopts fee for bags, bans foam containers (Portland Press Herald) Portland city councilors voted late Monday night to charge consumers a nickel for every disposable shopping bag they get and to ban foam containers for food and beverages in an effort to reduce trash that pollutes waterways. Both ordinances are effective April 15, 2015.

Portland’s disposable bag fee and foam packaging ban ordinances will be up for a vote by the City Council this Monday, June 16th beginning at 7pm. Supporting these ordinances will encourage people to use reusable bags and eco-friendly packaging, and will help clean up Portland’s neighborhoods, streets, and Casco Bay.

Summary of Foam Ban Ordinance: No vendor in the City shall serve or sell prepared food or packaged meat, eggs, bakery products or other food in expanded polystyrene containers . No city facilities or city sponsored events are permitted to use food service ware made from Expanded Polystyrene foam

Summary of Bag Fee Ordinance: All supermarkets, grocery, convenience and drug stores are prohibited from distributing single use disposable carryout bags (paper or plastic) to customers, but they are permitted to sell these bags for a minimum fee of 5 cents.

If you are a Portland resident and cannot attend the City Council meeting in person, you can testify by calling or emailing the city councilors.

For more information:


NRCM (Natural Resources Council of Maine): Five Cents for a Disposable Bag? No Thanks, I’ve Brought My Own!

Ecomaine: Plastic Bag Fee Moves Forward in Portland, Maine

Surfrider website that lists ban/fee structure of other cities: http://www.surfrider.org/pages/plastic-bag-bans-fees