The plastic bag ordinance passed in Branford in June is about to become more stringent as we enter the new year.
When the law passed on June 12, a six month provision was included to give retailers time to adjust to the new single use plastic bag ban. Once a law passes, a 15 day time period is allowed after public notification before it becomes law, placing enactment at the end of June.
The six month delay on the local ordinance will expire in late 2019. This means that as of the start of 2020, no retailer will be able to offer single use plastic bags, even at a charge, in Branford.
Many retailers have already taken this step, but some have been offering them at a 10-cent chare to be paid the state. Some retailers also offer paper bags at a 10 cents charge, that fee is theirs to keep.
When the state passed its plastic bag law, it also enabled local town ordinances to be passed. Many towns chose to do so, including Branford.
The law on the state level has been extremely successful in its goal of reducing plastic bag use, and encouraging the use of reusable bags. Revenue expected from the 10 cent charge was significantly lower than expected, indicating that consumers have quickly adjusted, or have been willing to pay a 10 cent fee for plastic bags.
But come the start of the new year, paying a fee for plastic bag is no longer an option, and retailers cannot use them. Single use plastic bags can also not be distributed on town property, something that can impact retailers working local festivals and events.
First selectman Jamie Cosgrove indicated announcements will be sent out as a reminder to residents and retailers this month.
Many retailers, like Stop and Shop, Big Y and Staples have already stopped use of plastic bags. Smaller retailers, like Caron's Corner and Hornets Nest Deli, have followed suit. In many case, consumers either bring their own bags, or chose not to use a bag at all for smaller items.
The full state ban on plastic bags starts in July of 2021.