Fiorella Beccaglia Managing Editor
If you’re planning to go to the grocery store, make sure to grab your reusable shopping bags before heading to the store. You have two more years to perfect this new habit before plastic bags are completely banned in Connecticut. In the meantime, you’ll have to pay a 10-cent tax on every plastic bag you take home.
The tax—and the eventual ban on single-use plastic bags—were approved as part of an amendment to the state budget bill passed June 3, 2019 in the House of Representatives and approved June 4 by the Senate. After it was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont, the tax went into effect Aug. 1, while the absolute ban will begin July 1, 2021. The fee will go to the state, which expects to collect $55 million. The added cost is an incentive to get people to bring their own bags and help the environment.
The state law also does not prevent towns from having stricter regulations on plastic bags. Stamford charges 10 cents paper bag, and other towns, like Darien, have considered fees. Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan and Hamden have passed complete plastic bag bans.
Environmental groups and the state grocery industry (and myself as well) largely applaud this new measure. Our damage to the environment has been too great since industrialization. Although way more helpful and serious measures could be taken to reduce the ecological terrorism the United States and many corporations impose on the environment, this ban is a start.
It is estimated that up to 10 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world, and a big portion of them polluting our oceans and land while harming wildlife everywhere. Plastic bags are made from non-renewable sources and, on this account, highly contribute to climate change. In addition, petroleum based plastic bags do not degrade. Instead, it breaks down into small tiny pieces which are swept down and end up in the oceans which are then consumed by wildlife. Currently, there are approximately 46,000 to 1,000,000 plastic fragments floating within every square mile of the globe’s oceans. Also, plastic bags are said to present a significant challenge in terms of recycling. Recycling facilities do not have the capacity to recycle plastic bags and thus do not accept them. Therefore, the actual recycling rate for plastic bags is around 5%.
I had not even thought about how useless plastic bags really were until this new law came into effect. You really don’t need them and they existed as a pointless commodity.