It's coming down the pike, faster than you think. After April 21st, stores across the state will no longer be able to offer customers single-use plastic bags. In fact, the official deadline for the ban is actually April 22nd, Earth Day.

It's important to remember that the ban on bags doesn't just apply to grocery stores; it's hardware stores, retail clothing stores, anywhere you buy anything. Many places still plan to offer paper bags, for a fee, if you forget to bring your own. But if you want to buy a bunch of hammers at the Home Depot, you'd better bring something to take them home in!

Some stores have already started to phase out the bags. At Sam's Club, for instance, they've never even really offered bags. Goodwill went bag-less last year. And some stores like Marshall's or T.J. Maxx are still using plastic, but have reusable bags for sale right at the register for a fairly cheap price.

Some places like The Dollar Tree will stop their plastic bag use as of April 1st (Happy April Fools Day, it's no joke!) Regardless of when retailers decide to implement the change (which Gov. Mills signed into law last summer) you should keep in mind that it will take some time fore people to get used to the new way of doing things. So it would be good for us all to cut each other a little slack.

It's not the cashier's fault they can't give you a plastic bag to throw your snacks in. They're just doing their job and following the law. Just as there will undoubtedly be some folks (probably like myself) who will just plain forget their bags, or have to make an unplanned stop on the way home for some things, and won't have a reusable bag with them. So it's a good idea to start getting in the habit of carrying your own reusable bags this month, so you're not caught off guard when the deadline hits next month.

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