Readers who responded to our online poll were divided nearly equally three ways on the issue of Rockland's ban on plastic bags. About one third hate the ban, another third find it inconvenient but understand and another third love it.

We received more than 900 responses to the online poll.

Most said they would not be more likely to shop out of town to avoid the ban, but 39.6 percent said they would be more likely to shop out of town. Among the comments, several readers noted they were shopping online or at Walmart in Thomaston to avoid dealing with Rockland's ban on plastic bags.

We received more than 100 comments from readers, which are included below. A few were removed because they used offensive language:

The plan is ill thought out. I went to a hardware store and they couldn't give me a bag for some bolts and screw. Really? Why didn't they just require biodegradable plastic???

I always use my reusable bags any way, but I did find it inconvenient when I bought meat that they usually put in plastic due to the meat juices.

Already have gone to Walmart instead.

You can go to Walmart in Thomaston and they have plastic bags for their customers. I think that it is unfair to Rockland businesses to have to give up their plastic bags, but the town next door can have their businesses offer their customers plastic bags. It sounds like discrimination to me!

The ocean is so important to Rockland and our history. It is critical for us to address plastic waste and its impact on the ocean, and I am happy we are adapting.

First time with reusable bags meat package leaked in bag contaminating other items in bag. Reusable bags can be very heavy for seniors. I always reused the plastic bags and did not through them in the ocean. This is a major in convince and will solve nothing.

It's like bailing out the Titanic with a Dixie cup.

Reusable bags are awful for the environment. For every use of a single use plastic bag, one needs to reuse a paper bag seven times, a polypropylene tote (as most of our stores sell) twenty six times, and a cotton tote 327 times.

It is not fair for those who do not live in Rockland therefore do not dispose of their trash there. I know of two folks who always brought their own reusable bags and got ill due to some sort of bacteria that was growing in one of their bags, most likely from a previous shopping trip the large plastic bags and even the cloth bags with the hard bottoms are hard to clean out on the inside.

The only reason why I said yes to shopping in Thomaston is because I’ve already been in the situation where I’d driven to Hannaford only to realize that I’d forgotten my reusable bags. I would have purchased their reusable bags but I already have a few at home. So, off to Walmart I went instead. I just need to make it a habit to remember my bags.

Good news. Switching to paper will help support the logging business again.

Why the survey when its the law?

In 2002 my husband and I moved to Ireland where a bag ban had just begun. We never heard anything but praise for it. It's about time.

It’s stupid pure and simple

Put it out to vote and then you'll know what people think about it

These bags are useful to line waste cans, dispose of cat litter and other debris. I'll be purchasing small bags to be used for these purposes.

Unbelievable how a few people control all

I use the plastic bags over and over. the paper bags are flimsyand tear before the groceries are home.

reusable are, ultimately WORSE for our environment. and unsanitary

I have found I buy alot more online now than every before I shopped in rockland this past weekend and it was the first time in over a month and I use to shop weekly there.

they rip and tear

All of the trash that goes to the Rockland transfer station goes to a incinerator to be burned, as all the local surrounding towns do as well so how does this benefit the taxpayers. The councilors are patting themselves on the back. Wow what a good thing we have done.

Doesn't go far enough! bring back the paper bag fee!

Rockland has enough problems. Bag ban is stupid.

I do not like the assumption that all plastic bags just get thrown away. I always reuse mine.

Been using my own bags for years when I remember to take them out of my car.

This may help, but deposits on bottles and cans you still see plenty on side of roads.

It is too bad that paper is treated like plastic. Paper, I believe is highly degradable. There never seemed to be an issue when there were no plastic bags and everyone used paper.

Takes more energy to make reusable bags, plus reusable bags are not biodegradable.

We are killing the environment with plastic. I fear for young children if no action is taken.

The earth is dying. Every little bit helps her to live.

Does it also mean there will be a ban on all the produce bags as well?

It is a good plan to help save our environment.

Crappy poll. A few more choices would be nice:

It is such a great thing to see the results of citizen actions! I would seek out a community that banned plastic bags! Hooray for Rockland!

First it was banning paper for plastic, now backwards we go!

Use paper

I do not like having to pay for a bag. If we did not pay for plastic why paper?

It needs to happen everywhere; Rockland is smart to help start the process.

Classist, self-righteous, and completely misinformed decision. I will be driving farther to do my shopping in surrounding towns.

Love the beneficial impact this with have on our environment!

Dont they have anything to do than worry about plastic bags. There is alot of more important things to deal with other than plastic bags.

It is necessary to follow this program until plastics are made to dissolve.

Nice to see Rockland lead in this — other cities, states and even countries have already banned all single-use plastic. I'd like to see a fee on paper bags included.

I was glad to get take out from China Coast in a container that was not made of styrofoam. I hope that is the next to go.

I think the ordinance should have include a fee ($.05) on single-use paper bags, too. Paper bags have a carbon footprint, and we should be learning to bring reusable bags.

Habits aren’t easy to change, but this one is for the best. We say we love our water and land, and this kind of plastic is not that hard to cut back on. Plenty of places already manage it, and society hasn’t crumbled over lack of free bags.

Plastics are poisoning our oceans and environment. This is one small but important step towards preserving our environment. Let’s hope there are more to come!

Trash, bread, frozen food. All single use. Make it all or nothing. Stop the piece meal BS.

I hope other towns follow!!

The people who decided this suck. It should have been a citizen vote.

Very inconvenient

Considering the prices already include a bag charge, the 2nd charge is excessive.

Its really not a big deal. People will get used to it.

Let’s use the plastic bags to fill in the pots holes


About time.

I live in Camden, so I might as well get used to it. My bags live in my car, so you'd think I'd remember to take them in the store. Alas, not usually!

I've been carrying my own bags for a few decades, I know it doesn't seem like much but we all need to do a little bit.

Totally bogus

Just need to remember to bring in cotton bags!

It’s a start.

About time

People can adjust.

The thought of people using their "reusable bags" is gross. I am an organic farmer and agree to save the earth as much as possible. However, I see first hand the bags people use at the markets having me bag their produce with the poultry they purchased. Remind you the bag that was handed to me was already dirty looking. Now this is a farmers market that is outdoors. But with the plastic ban and charging for paper is going to push more people to bring their NOT so sanitary bags into the grocery stores. People really need to think about what the real cost will be.

Simply the right thing to do

Just another reason to shop at Walmart in Thomaston

It's only a one-time you spank if you don't reuse it. I reuse the plastic bag for all sorts of things. What's next, banning plastic garbage bags?

Plastic bags are part of a much larger waste disposal problem, and this seems a necessary step towards dealing with it.

Let's ban plastic straws and charge for paper bags too.

It is a learning curve issue that I have been working on for months in preparation. Now push just met shove! I do support the ban.

Years ago it was 'gotta have plastic because we're killing the trees'. Now we're back to killing trees amd paying for our own bags. Another "tax" on the consumer.

Of course I would not go out of town, just to pollute a little more. It is plain foolishness of selfish people to complain about doing the right thing for future generations.

First they INSIST on going from paper to plastic to "save the trees" and now are CHARGING us to kill them???????

It's a minor sacrifice to reduce the amount of waste and sends a clear message that Rockland is a thoughtful and progressive community.

Should have done this years ago!

It’s surprising at times but will be easy to get use to- and I like being forced to remember reusable bags- I feel like already it’s having an impact of far more manageable plastic waste.

There is room for improvement in the quality of paper bags offered by Hannaford & Shaws. also would be nice if they offered their empty boxes for customer use. Would eliminate waste, and boxes are sturdier than the current paper bags offered, especially for heavy items.

No change for us, been carrying reusable bags for years.

About time

It's about time, if you're complaining, stay home or shop on Amazon, reusable bags are the norm now, get with it.

Stupid stupid stupid

It’s the right thing to do. I’ve always brought my own bags.

Until it's a state law you are going to have uneven compliance and essentially an additional tax in some towns and not others. Overall it's a good idea but a very small part of the problem.

Plastic in the environment is a huge issue. We need to step back and look at the cause of it. Most of the plastic arrived in our environment by way of littering either purposeful or accidental from uncovered loads. This is an issue that should be combated by increased enforcement, NOT banning plastic bags.

Paper bags actually have a higher carbon footprint and fewer reuses. Reusable bags often aren’t properly cared for and may result in increases in contamination of foods, not to mention they’re made of plastic and often can’t be recycled.

Need to start somewhere.

Ill get used to it

I reuse the plastic for other things so I will miss them

Bought reusable bags,they are easier and are not exspensive

I'm proud to see Rockland taking the lead on limiting plastic in our lives.

Takes a little adjusting to, but necessary

What is the difference between free plastic bags and plastic bags purchased? A profit for the bag companies. What do I now use to empty the garbage, clean up the litter box, etc. Cloth bags don't do it.

I already bring shopping bags with me. And knew that this was coming so why not get in the practice of taking them with you.

Can't really love it, but do understand. And in the grand scheme, it's a small inconvenience.

It's about time, and we should all celebrate the efforts and concern by Renew Rockland. Perhaps your story could note its initiative and follow-through.

I've been using my own bags for years anyway. It's only inconvenient if you are making an unscheduled stop for groceries and don't have your bags.

If people weren't such pigs we wouldn't have the problem with these bags. If disposed of properly they pose no problem.

Ocean communities must respond swiftly to the threat to our oceans!

Rockland depends on making a living from the sea. Plastic kills. This is a sensible step in the right direction

I like the ban. It encourages people to use other methods.

I always take bags with me but when there is a dripping package of chicken I'd rather not get it all over everything else. Plus any plastic bags that I do get are not thrown away – I reuse them.

I understand they found a way to make some more money, charge for carboard boxes instead of sterform ones. what is this country comming to

I Think it's a great start. I will need to just remember to always keep my totes in my car (which I use alot anyway).

Let us legislate ourselves, do they want to tell me how long to brush, floss or how many pieces of tp I can use too, what's next.

I have used my own grocery bags for years. However, I still think this is very inconvenient.

Hope it goes county wide.

Unbelievable how a few people control all

It’s a great thing.


I don't mind using my own bags but like alot of people,I leave them home.

Paper bags have a much higher negative environmental impact.

Don't love it, don't hate it – I've been using my own bags for years so I'm not being affected by it

symbolism over substance…it will solve nothing

Really important and simple move to improve environmental issues. Why should we be paying for the convenience of a few who don't see the need to address the issues of plastic in our environment? The costs are both at the check out lane (the cost of the bags is in the cost of the food we buy as an overhead cost) and the cost in the environmental degradation. It's crazy not to do it. Buy a plastic bag for $.05 if you really need one.

We make paper here in Maine, not plastic…

Rockland City Council should be providing essential services to its citizens, not trying to engineer social behavior!

I typically used these bags to line my household trash can. Now I have to buy bags to do the same job. What did this save?

Paper is better than plastic

Multi-use fabric bags = fewer "forever" plastic bags filling our already overburdened landfills. Or purchase the 5-cent paper bags and recycle them. Buying 5 bags for a quarter shouldn't break anyones bank.

Online shopping just got even more accommodating. I will be keeping Hannaford's old plastic bags for when I do shop though,should the need arise. Once again Rockland City Counsel doing what they can to hurt local businesses.

Most people I know reuse the plastic bags for trash liners, pet waste clean up or other uses around the home …. the plastic waste I see as a bigger problem is all the plastic furniture, packaging and household items that don't get recycled. Also, think of all the plastic (& metals) that end up in our oceans as the result of tidal waves & flooding from natural disasters and 'garbage that gets disposed of at sea' … plastic bags seem pretty insignificant.

Other countries (Scandanavian especially) have done this for years.

I think it’s GREAT!! Good for you Rockland! Long overdue.