Cohen on Plastic Bag Ban

State senator Christine Cohen at a press conference regarding bill that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide. 

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Environment Committee co-chairs state Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) and state Representative Mike Demicco (D-Farmington) were joined by fellow lawmakers, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment at a press conference to unveil the details of legislation to ban single-use plastic bags.

“As municipalities across the state enact bans on single-use plastic bags it sends a clear message that action must be taken,” said Sen. Cohen. “The time is now to pass legislation that will ban these bags that are contributing to pollution in our oceans and forests, as well as on our highways, beaches and in our parks. This bill will get us one step closer to ensuring that our environment and wildlife are not harmed by plastic bags and provides Connecticut’s businesses with enough time to find environmentally conscious alternatives.”

Senate Bill 1003, “An Act Concerning the Use of Single-Use Plastic and Paper Bags,” will prohibit stores from providing and/or selling plastic single-use carryout bags at the point of sale. It will also require any paper single-use carryout bag to be 100 percent recyclable and have at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content. Paper bags will also be required to conspicuously display, “please reuse and recycle this bag,” on the bag.

SB 1003 will go into effect upon passage, setting these changes in motion for a state ban by July 1, 2021. The bill passed the Environment Committee by a bipartisan 25-4 vote on March 25. This legislation awaits action by the state Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate anticipates hearing the proposal this week. Rep. Demicco said this legislation will curb the single-use plastic habit that is harming the environment.

“There is a dire need to address the single-use plastics our society uses on a daily basis and acknowledge that it directly impacts our environment, waterways and wildlife,” said Rep. Demicco.

Single-use plastic bags contribute to pollution at parks, beaches, roads, waterways and can easily be swept into storm drains and cause severe blockages. According to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, these single-use bags do not fully break down and are oftentimes mistaken as food by aquatic wildlife. State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) spoke at the press conference and said a plastic bag ban will greatly benefit the state.

“Ten years ago, my hometown became the first municipality in Connecticut to ban plastic bags,” said Sen. Haskell. “It’s about time we bring the ban to the state level. Plastic bags pose a tangible threat to our environment, and Hartford needs to stand up for communities that rely on the Long Island Sound. I’m grateful for the hard work of my colleagues on the Environment Committee as well as the many activists in my community who have worked on this issue for years. Together, I’m hopeful we can cross the finish line and adopt more sustainable habits.”

Single-use paper bags pose a risk to the environment as well, as 14 million trees are cut down annually and these single-use paper bags take up more space in the municipal solid waste stream than plastic bags, according to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. Louis Burch, the Connecticut Program Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said the time is now to pass legislation to rid our state of single-use checkout bags.

“It’s time to make single-use checkout bags a thing of the past in Connecticut,” said Burch. “The dominoes are falling all around us—more than 15 towns in CT have taken action to eliminate plastic bags, and a dozen more stand poised to do the same. Now it’s the state’s turn to kick the plastic bag habit. The people want the state to pass an effective bag law; one that eliminates plastic pollution and promotes reusable bag use. The people of Connecticut are ready to give up single-use bags for good. Now it’s time for state lawmakers to answer the call.”

Currently, New York, California and Hawaii have statewide single-use plastic bag bans. Across the country, cities and towns are implementing their own bans and across the state, Hamden, Mansfield, Middletown, New Canaan, New Britain, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Greenwich and Westport have passed single-use plastic bag bans.

About Christine Cohen: Sen. Cohen was first elected in 2018 to represent the 12th Senate District which consists of Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford. Christine is a small business owner; the proud owner of Cohen’s Bagel Company.

(2) comments

Guest

We'll now be forced to BUY Plastic Bags to line our garbage cans and to pick up doggie poo, something that we have been using the free check-out bags for since they shifted from paper grocery bags to plastic. Analysis of the issue concludes that those retail Plastic Bags are thicker and more substantial than the grocery store check-out bags. They use more petroleum to manufacture than the grocery store check-out bags and are worse for the environment. It is also a win for the grocer, no more free bags to purchase to bag their customer's purchases and they will now profit from selling you bags to line your garbage cans and to pick up doggie poo. The members of the Connecticut legislature are again demonstrating lack of any common sense in their attempts at social engineering.

Guest

This bill is a disaster for seniors who rely upon home delivery from shoprite and peapod. these services may have to end within 2 years, as the bill provides no exceptions for us. I wrote to the legislators; asked to be connected to the hearing via telephone remote (oh, we don't have the equipment to do that, you'll just have to get your crippled body up to Hartford somehow, find a spot to park who knows where, and limp up to the hearing room if you want to discuss this issue)..to no avail. The CT. grocers assn. completely ignored the issues concerning home delivery. The enviornmental grps. falsely stated that there were no recycling options for single use plastic bags; there are, they are made into TREX back porch decking, and people pay hefty premiums to buy these. I still can't get a reading from the Supermarket people on how my home deliveries will continue, after 2 years. If the canvas style bags which Stop & Shop sell for $3 are used it will raise my weekly bill by $30. As well, companies like Shop rite, will have to use much larger trucks, and possibly have to hire assistants for their drivers to unload much bigger and bulkier stiff type of containers. Currently, a single driver can bring in $100 worth of items by grabbing the handles of 6-9 plastic bags in each hand. He's in and out of your house in minutes. Apparently that won't be the case any more. But people like Christine Cohen and other shoreliners don't care how they harm elderly, invalided individuals. They allowed their committees to hear testimony that portrayed Long Island Sound as if it were the asian pacific with plumes of garbage floating around for miles and miles. I never saw it, and neither did you. Just lies. The truth is, these people don't want anybody in Connecticut coming down to their beaches and are so intoxicated with their self importance that they've become delusional and abusive towards the rights of others. And they call themselves "democrats" interested in" the poor, the downtrodden etc." ha! Finally, before I lead a movement to amend and reverse this travesty, or a movement for seniors to unelect the Christines of this state or move out of CT, let me say, that I will be in touch with my town's councilors concerning the increased costs which will inevitably result when people start throwing paper bags, and canvas "reusuable" bags (which become soiled with meat and ice cream residue) into either recylce bins or weekly trash pick ups. The extra cost to the towns will mount up. I guess the geniuses in Hartford didn't think of these costs either.

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