States Ban the Bag: Connecticut Joins the List

learn all about the Connecticut plastic bag ban

Bag Ban to Become Effective in 2021

State lawmakers in Connecticut knew something had to be done about the influx of single-use plastic bags that were littering their home state. While there was much debate about bans and fees, a push to use reusable shopping bags was taken this past June. Connecticut is now the fifth state to ban single-use plastic bags. As part of our #StatesBanTheBag series, we look into the story behind Connecticut’s ban.

Addressing the Problem

Connecticut boasts 618 miles of shoreline along the northern edge of the Long Island Sound, as well as a landmass just over 5,500 square miles. Connecticut is not a large state, but over 3.5 million people call this state home. With that many people, that means there are a ton of single-use plastic bags being used each and every day. That was apparent in the amount of plastic bag trash that littered roadways and the coastline.

Bag bans and fees are proven to reduce litter and trash, so initially, city and town governments began taking up the issue. By the start of 2019, over 20 Connecticut cities and towns had passed or were in the process of passing laws regulating single-use plastic bags. This caught the attention of state lawmakers.

State-Wide Plan

In January 2019, state lawmakers proposed a 5-cent fee on both plastic and paper bags. This fee was intended to discourage the use of disposable bags while also raising awareness and promoting recycling. The Governor was behind the idea of a fee and included a 10-cent fee in his budget. By March, lawmakers had moved on from the idea of a fee to a ban when legislation was approved that would ban single-use plastic bags.

Connecticut’s ban will be rolled out gradually, and it will start with a fee. Starting August 1, 2019, a 10-cent fee will be levied on all single-use plastic bags handed out at the checkout. All of the money from the fee goes to the state. Single-use plastic bags will be banned beginning July 1, 2021. The law does not place any restrictions on paper bags. Municipalities are free to pass more strict rules in their jurisdictions. For instance, a city could ban or levy a fee on paper bags.

Connecticut’s bag ban has the support of the association that represents all of the grocery retailers. One consistent law throughout the entire state is much easier for businesses, particularly, businesses with multiple locations.

Going Green

In addition to the bag ban, Connecticut lawmakers also passed a measure preventing restaurants and caterers from distributing containers made from polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam. Laws intended to ban single-use plastic straws and expand the bottle bill failed to pass.

#StatesBanTheBag

Learn more about the bag ban movement and uncover more detailed information about all of the recent statewide bans in our series, #StatesBanTheBag. Each state ultimately has different reasons for banning single-use plastic bags and each law is unique. We strive to tell the story behind the ban in each state and explain how the bans came about.

Come back later this week to learn about the first possible statewide bag ban in the Mid-Atlantic.

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