Sustain Mid Maine Coalition – Upcoming Meetings and Activities

December Meetings and Activities

 1: Public Policy Team at 6:30 p.m. at the REM office on Temple Street

 7:  Board of Directors Meeting at 9:00 in the Winslow Town Office
 7: Transportation at 4:00 at KVCOG (across from Huhtamaki)
12: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Team  at 8:30 in the Front St. Conference  Room of Waterville City Hall
18: Education & Community Outreach at 10:30 in the Front St. Conference  Room of Waterville City Hall
22: Permaculture Team at 5:00 at 22 Violette Ave., Waterville 

“Bag It” Documentary Film Screening
Tuesday, December 19th
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Waterville High School Media Room
Join the Sustain Mid Maine Coalition’s Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Team for a screening of the documentary film “Bag It” about the proliferation of plastic in our environment and society. See the trailer here. The film is free and open to the public. Before the start of the film, you will hear about our efforts to ban plastic shopping bags in Waterville and how you can get involved. Learn more at
A Message the Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Team’s Plastic Bag Committee:

Plastic shopping bags have been ubiquitous in our society since first introduced in the late 1970s. They are made from oil, never degrade, pollute our environment, and only about 5% get recycled. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses 150 per year. A conservative estimate if you ask me. Nevertheless, there are about 16,000 residents of Waterville. That means 2,400,000 plastic bags are used in Waterville alone every year. A plastic shopping bag is about a foot across. If you put the 2,400,000 plastic bags Waterville uses each year end to end, it would stretch over 8,000 football fields. This needs to change.

Let’s assume that half of these plastic shopping bags, 1,200,000 come from one of the Hannaford’s here in town. According to the Hannaford’s in Elm Plaza, they pay $32 dollars for a box of 2,000 plastic bags meaning each one costs 1.6 cents. That means each Hannaford’s store in Waterville is paying approximately $19,200 annually on handing out free plastic shopping bags. That is nearly $40,000 every year spent by Hannaford’s alone. This needs to change.

All told there are about 140 different plastic bag ordinances in the United States. California and Hawaii have banned them all together. Chicago banned them in 2014. Washington, DC and Dallas charge for bags, paper and plastic. Plastic bags are no longer used in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Manitoba. Europe and Asia have cracked down on them too.
About a dozen Maine towns have already banned or placed a small, 5 cent fee on plastic shopping bags to discourage their use. The towns of Bath, York, Freeport, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Saco and Belfast have all banned plastic bags in their towns. The towns of Portland, South Portland, Topsham and Falmouth have all placed a 5 cent fee on them to deter their use.


The Sustain Mid Maine Coalition’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Committee is working on an ordinance to bring forward to you, the City Council of Waterville, that would do the following:

1.) Prohibit the use of plastic shopping bags at businesses in Waterville where food sales make up 2% or more of total sales. This would apply to grocery stores, Walmart, restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores where the majority of these plastic bags come from. It would not apply to businesses like Home Depot, Staples, retailers, clothing stores, etc. This does not apply to thin plastic produce, meat, and seafood bags at the grocery stores, dry cleaning bags, or plastic newspaper sleeves. As in other Maine towns, The City Code Enforcement Officer would enforce this ordinance.

2.) We are not proposing any changes to the use of paper bags at businesses in Waterville. They would still be available for free at check out. This will support the forest products industry rather than the oil industry.

3.) This ordinance would encourage folks to bring their own reusable shopping bags from home to the store with them.

As our city continues to revitalize itself, as more businesses invest in Waterville, and as Colby continues to pour money in to our downtown, we need to clean up our city to attract new and retain existing residents and businesses. What I have seen over the last few weeks picking up litter and trash around town has been eye opening. We need to consider how clean streets, parks, trails, and riversides can contribute to the revitalization of our great town.

If you would like to join us t help make this happen, the next meeting is Tuesday, December 12 at 8:30 AM in the Front Street Conference Room of Waterville City Hall.

Check out Steve Kahl speaking at our Annual SMMC Meeting!
Suggestions for a Green Holiday!

1. Practice sustainable habits when serving your Holiday feast! Buy only what you need, buy food with minimal packaging, compost any food scraps, and be sure to serve food on reusable dishes.
2. Buy local! The impact of shipping goods contributes to environmental harm, so buying gifts from craft fairs and farmers markets not only supports local artisans, but also helps the environment.
3. Give an experience! Instead of giving a material gift, give an experience such as concert tickets, cooking classes, fitness classes, sports events, or a museum membership.
4. Re-gift or host a white elephant gift exchange! This is a great way for items to be used to their fullest extent. It also helps ensure that you are not accumulating unnecessary items.
5. When purchasing gifts don’t forget to bring reusable bags on holiday shopping excursions, and when wrapping gifts use newspaper, old maps or reusable textiles.

6. When purchasing gifts, give some thought to what will happen to that item when it is used up. Can it be recycled? Can it be reused?
7. Want that unique gift idea? Give a gift that will be around for years. Give the gift of a tree. By planting a tree for your neighbor, friend or relative, you will be showing how much you care for them and for our environment.
8. Celebrating Christmas? Don’t forget to recycle your tree! Many cities offer curbside Christmas tree recycling, check with your city or town’s sanitation department to see if this is available to you.
9. Make a resolution to recycle more! Start building your recycling pile with used newspapers, magazines and junk mail, and make an effort to recycle hard-to-recycle items such as batteries and old electronics.
10. Buying online is easy and you can avoid those long lines! Buy your gifts using and select Sustain Mid-Maine as your Charity of choice. This is free to you and will help fund a local grass roots organization in your town.
11. Give a gift to our community and our planet. Make a donation  to SMMC today!
12.  Rethink your purchases and spend 10 seconds with each item asking yourself the following:  Do I need this?  Can I buy or refurbish a used one?  Will it be used, stashed, or trashed?
Help us help you!

Good Witch Kitchen…Wicked Good Food…Building Community One Bite at a Time
Locally made to order, small batch, wicked good homemade baked goods made with love and the spirit of building community.  Personal chef services are also available.   Ten percent of all proceeds are donated to local charities, including Sustain Mid Maine.  When you place your order, just let me know that you’d like me to donate 10% of your purchase to Sustain Mid Maine.  And, if you’d like to be a matching sponsor that means even more money is donated to this program supporting the really great work they do. Please check out my website at for more information including a menu and specials page.  Contact me at 861-4025 or email at

We are now referral partners with Maine Green Power (MGP).  A program of the Public Utilities Commission, MGP allows you to purchase electricity made completely from renewable resources in Maine. If you decide to enroll, please check Sustain Mid Maine Coalition to be the recipient of your donation.  Sign up today at  

Buying online is easy and you can avoid those long lines! Buy your gifts using and select Sustain Mid-Maine as your Charity of choice. This is free to you and will help fund a local grass roots organization in your town.

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