Connecticut’s plastic bag ban goes into effect today. Here’s what you need to know before you head to the store.

1. The ban is about shifting consumer behavior, not about switching to paper bags or raising money for the state

We can all agree that plastic bags are not good for the environment. And yes, although this will raise money for the state (approximately $32M in this fiscal year), the goal with this law is to change consumer behavior. The argument for reusable bags is compelling and switching to them is a relatively easy change that can have a huge impact on the environment. According to the Hartford Courant, 380 billion single use plastic bags are used in the US each year. They end up in up in a variety of places as garbage and can be problematic for recycling centers (if recycled at all) as they clog machines.

2. Remember you’re being charged by the state, not the retailer

The $0.10 fee will be going to the state, so don’t complain too loudly to your local cashier if you forget your bags. The law does give retailers and town/municipalities the autonomy to add additional fees if they would like. Stores are also allowed to charge for paper bags if they feel it’s necessary. And from what I’ve read, paper bags are more costly for stores to produce and secure.

3. By 2021, single use plastic bags will be completely banned in Connecticut

Some retailers are getting a jump on this or take a store like BD Provisions which never carried plastic grocery bags to begin with. Stores like Big Y and Stop & Shop have already made the decision to remove all plastic bags effective 8/1 from their stores. Stop & Shop will offer free paper bags for the month of August and add on a $0.10 fee for paper bags beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day. Big Y will charge $0.10 for every paper bag used, but is discounting reusable bags.

4. The basics  

  • All stores, not just grocery stores are included. So yes, bring your bags into Target & CVS.
  • Plastic bags that hold deli meat, meat, seafood, produce, dry cleaning, and laundry bags are exempt.
  • Restaurants & food trucks also need to comply with this.

For additional reading, please visit the following: NBC CT 30, The CT Mirror, and The Hartford Courant.

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