ELLSWORTH — Members of Ellsworth’s Green Action Team presented the City Council Feb. 11 with their proposal for an ordinance banning plastic bag use by retailers.
The proposal, which was introduced by Councilor Gary Fortier, will be the topic of a future council workshop.
Julia Ventresco, one of four team members making the case, listed the number of “unsightly single-use plastic bags” littering the city, as well as those fished out of Card Brook during the annual cleanup. Ventresco said plastic bags eventually end up in the ocean and break down into microplastics.
Council Chairman Marc Blanchette asked Ventresco how many bags retailers give out and how many are recycled.
She said city retailers have declined to say how many bags they give out. As far as recycling goes, she said, national statistics show that 1 percent of plastic shopping bags are recycled.
Blanchette said he’d like to see the local numbers.
“How do we know there’s a problem?” he asked. “Without firm numbers,” he said, he would be disinclined to tell businesses what they can and cannot do.
Ventresco said Hannaford, Shaw’s and Tradewinds markets supported the ban. Their response to the proposal, she said, was “very favorable.”
Green Team member Leslie Harlow said Renys has already switched away from plastic bags.
“Ellsworth needs to step up,” Harlow said.
Fortier spoke up, reminding Blanchette that this was “a presentation, not an argument.”
Small plastic bags in grocery stores’ produce, seafood and bakery departments would not be included in the ban.
A date for the bag ban workshop was not set.
In other business, the council heard from:
- Neil MacKay, president of Dollard Hill Homeowners Association, asking the council to consider paying a portion of the upkeep of Catherine Avenue, which the city uses to access a water tower. City Manager David Cole said he would meet with MacKay.
- Judy Blood of Ellsworth Falls, who urged the council to take action to save the former Ticonic Firehouse from demolition.
- Gordon Workman of Westwood Drive regarding a neighbor’s water draining onto his property. The council’s position is that it is a private matter between neighboring parties.