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Plastic Bag Fee Takes Effect In Connecticut

Jade Allen
Connecticut Public Radio
Big Y plans to remove plastic bags completely from checkout.

The green initiative that will charge retail shoppers 10 cents to use plastic disposable bags begins August 1st. But two chains, Big Y and Stop & Shop, have gone further and eliminated the bags altogether.

Shoppers across Connecticut are looking to invest in cloth, reusable bags as the changes go into effect. However, grocery shoppers at Big Y in West Hartford were happy about the move to a more environmentally-friendly shopping experience.

Retiree John Wallen says he and his wife are prepared for the change to reusable bags for shopping, but now he will have to invest in a new product for his garbage disposal.

“I’ve already purchased about a dozen cloth bags for both my wife and I to keep in the car for shopping,” said Wallen. “The only big side effect will be that we actually reuse our plastic bags as trash can liners, so we’ll have to go and actually buy new trash can liners as a separate new product for our trash baskets..” 

Shopper Ann Sagalyn was also making an eco-friendly change in her shopping habits by looking for paper cups to use in lieu of the plastic alternative.

“I myself am trying to eliminate as much plastic as possible from my lifestyle, and I think it’s a great thing that any business is trying to do the same,” said Sagalyn. She said that she is happy to see companies are voluntarily willing to limit their disposable plastic use.

Overall the responses to the new law have been fairly positive, with many of Connecticut’s shoppers looking to do their part in protecting the environment. However, there has been no talk about how the law will work in other retail businesses like clothing stores and restaurants which will also charge the ten cent fee.

Credit Jade Allen / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
Frederick Boyd has used reusable bags for years.

“I’ve been using renewable bags for a long time,” said Frederick Boyd as he shopped along the aisles of Big Y. “If I need a bag then I will bring my own.”

Boyd says that he is unbothered by the idea of using his own bag at retail stores beyond groceries, because he stopped using plastic bags years ago.

The plastic bag ban does not include plastics used by the butcher, bags used to store loose vegetables, or the plastic covers used by dry cleaners stores.

Stop & Shop will be giving out free paper bags to customers until September 3. After that the chain will charge 10 cents for each paper bag used.

Jade Allen is a 2019 Dow Jones News Fund Fellow from Atlanta, Georgia. She's a senior mass communication major at Lane College, an HBCU in Jackson, Tennessee. During her free time she enjoys photography and documentary filmmaking.

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