NEW BRITAIN - The program director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment has called the state a leader in fighting plastic pollution after the Connecticut General Assembly passed a 10-cent fee on single-use plastic checkout bags.
According to the statement by the organization, the fee is part of the General Assembly’s two-year budget. The fee goes into effect in July and after July 1, 2021, retailers in Connecticut will no longer be allowed to distribute single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter.
“CCE applauds the Connecticut General Assembly for taking action on plastic pollution from single-use plastic bags in the budget,” CCE Connecticut Program Director Lou Rosado Burch said in the press release. “Connecticut has an obligation to be protectors of Long Island Sound and this bill advances that critical objective. Congratulations Connecticut! You have proven yourself once again to be a leader on fighting plastic pollution in our oceans and estuaries. This law gives consumers and businesses alike the time they need to make the switch, and the ‘opt-in’ provision allows municipalities to promote reusable bag use by establishing their own charge on paper bags. This policy is a common sense-approach towards reducing plastic pollution in our environment, saving taxpayers money and more sustainable consumer behavior-Bringing Your Own Bag. We are thrilled that Connecticut has joined the ‘bag ban wagon.’ ”
The policy enables municipalities that have already adopted bag ordinances to keep their bans and it also enables towns to apply their own fee on paper checkout bags.
In February, New Britain passed a resolution prohibiting the distribution of single-use carry-out plastic bags.
Westport, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Weston, Stonington, Windham, Mansfield, Hamden, Middletown, Guilford and New Canaan are some of the Connecticut cities and towns that had already approved a plastic bag ban.
But what does this policy mean for area retailers? Stop & Shop’s Jennifer Brogan said the chain already offers reusable bags at different price points. One of their bag options even donates $1 from the sale of each bag to a local non-profit of the customer’s choice.
“At Stop & Shop, we certainly share our customers’ concerns regarding the environmental consequences of plastics waste, and we encourage all of our customers to utilize reusable bags as they’re the most sustainable choice when it comes to transporting groceries,” Brogan said. “We are aware of the statewide ban that has passed in Connecticut, and we have plans in place to ensure Stop & Shop stores are in compliance. We do not have plans at this time to offer customers a credit for bringing their own reusable bag, nor do we have plans to offer boxes in lieu of bags.”
In New Britain, stores like PriceRite Market Place are already ahead of such policies. PriceRite Market Place does not distributes single use plastic bags.
When the city of New Britain was in the process of banning plastic bags, JD Diaz, owner of C Town Supermarket in New Britain told The Herald he supported the idea.
Target’s Jacque DeBuse said that the company encourages guests and communities to reduce their plastic bag use.
“ In an effort to promote the use of reusable bags, Target gives guests a five-cent discount for each reusable bag used at all of our stores,” DeBuse said. “For example, if a guest uses five reusable bags, they will receive a $0.25 discount on their purchase. In addition, Target voluntarily provides plastic bag recycling kiosks at the front of all of our stores. Target complies with all local and state ordinances. In areas that regulate bag use, we offer guests an alternative to single-use bags, which vary by location but may include reusable plastic or paper bags.”
This ban makes Connecticut the third state in the country to ban or phase out plastic checkout bags.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.