The Maine House and Senate approved a bill, LD 2091, setting the stage to allow businesses to provide food in reusable containers and receive them back for sanitizing.

The bill now heads to Governor Janet Mills’ desk for consideration.

From the Natural Resources Council of Maine:

When Castine business owner Kate Pilotte wanted to offer her meal kit customers reusable packaging, she was told Maine food regulations would not allow it. Kate then asked her State Senator to file a bill that would amend state law so local entrepreneurs have the option to safely offer reusable containers as a way to reduce plastic pollution and waste.

Reusable food and beverage packaging options for event venues, in-house dining, retail, and take-out services are popping up throughout the country. Many businesses provide reusable, returnable container programs because it saves them money and provides a better experience for their customers. Innovative third-party businesses are also being created to support the logistics and sanitation for businesses that provide reusable and returnable containers.  

Kate Pilotte, owner of Farm and Fish, said: “Customers want this, but I can’t respond because the law obstructs my ability to do so.”

The disposal and management of packaging waste in Maine is estimated to cost property taxpayers at least $16 million a year. LD 2091 will help reduce taxpayer costs for municipal waste disposal by reducing the amount of single-use packaging that ends up in recycling or trash streams.

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