The Rockland City Council will vote next week on an ordinance to ban the use of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.

In addition, the proposed law would impose an increasing fee on paper bags, in an effort to encourage shoppers to use reusable shopping bags.

Councilor Ed Glaser is sponsoring the proposed ordinance. A preliminary vote will be held Monday, Feb. 12.

If approved then, a formal public hearing and final vote would be held March 12.

At the council's Feb. 5 agenda-setting meeting, several people spoke in support of the ban. A few business owners urged the council, however, to delay the effective date of the law to allow stores to use up their current supplies of plastic bags.

Glaser said he would be willing to support having the measure take effect at the end of the year, so that businesses can use up whatever plastic bags they have on hand or have already ordered.

"It is in the best interests of the city of Rockland to protect the environment and our natural resources by prohibiting the distribution and use of disposable, single-use, carryout plastic bags, by discouraging the distribution and use of disposable, single-use, carryout paper bags, and by encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags," the preamble to the proposed ordinance states.

The law would require stores to charge 5 cents on every carryout paper bag used by customers. The fee would increase to 10 cents a year later, and then 15 cents in two years. The stores will keep the money from the sale of paper bags.

Customers would not be prohibited from bringing any type of bag they want into the store to carry home their groceries or merchandise.

Stores that violate the ordinance would be fined $100 for the first violation. A second or subsequent violations within a year would result in a $250 fine to the store.

Last April, the City Council heard a presentation on a possible ban from Rob Pfeiffer of Lincolnville. Pfeiffer made similar presentations to Camden and Thomaston. He urged communities to take a regional approach.

At the Feb. 5 meeting, speaker after speaker urged support for the ban.

Alexander Shaw said the ban would be a great initiative that would have a truly important impact on the environment.

Nathan Davis of Rockland agreed. "[Plastic bags and Styrofoam] are terrible on the environment, especially on marine life," Davis said.

Eleven communities in Maine have either outright bans or charge fees for use of single-use plastic bags, Shaw said.

Brunswick, Topsham, Kennebunk, Freeport, Falmouth, York, Portland and South Portland have enacted bans or fees on plastic bags. And Belfast became the most recent with its ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam, which took effect Jan. 1. Camden is also considering such a ban.