Portland City Council approves nickel shopping bag fee, ban on foam food, beverage containers

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PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland City Council has approved ordinances that charge consumers a nickel for disposable shopping bags and bans polystyrene foam food and beverage containers.

Supporters of the measures — both approved by 6-3 votes Monday night — say they reduce litter and help the environment.

The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1q7OizV ) reports that the ordinances were passed after about two hours of debate.

Opponents called them an unnecessary burden on consumers that don't address the real causes of litter. They also say they are inconsistent, since some businesses will be exempt.

The paper and plastic bag fee applies at stores where food constitutes at least 2 percent of gross sales, but exempts dry cleaners, restaurants and farmers' markets.

Both measures take effect next April 15.

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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