Connecticut could become the second state to ban single-use plastic bags if a proposal before the General Assembly becomes law.
The proposal would ban the bags commonly founded at grocery and big box stores starting in January 2020.
Three middle school students from West Hartford lobbied members of the General Assembly to outlaw the bags which have led to recycling issues, clogging machines meant to sort waste.
“I just think that plastic is a really bad habit in itself that we need to break as not only a nation, but really our entire job should really be breaking this habit. Plastic is not only affecting animals but it’s clogging a ton of recycling plants,” said Evan Piccioli, one of the students speaking to lawmakers.
Both Democrats and Republicans support the measure, which would place Connecticut in line with the only one other state that has taken this step, California.
Several cities and towns in Connecticut have banned plastic bans at the local level, but the proposal in Connecticut would apply to every municipality in the state.
Parthena Yaakob from West Hartford was packing her car with several filled plastic bags and said of the bags, “They’re very very light to carry and I’m used to it but if they have to do it for a good environmental reason, then I would go along with it.”
The Connecticut Food Association, which represents many grocers in the state, is opposed to the ban, favoring a 5 cent fee per bag in all stores, instead. The group’s President, Wayne Pesce, told the Environment Committee, “Behavioral change is a challenge in this convenience-driven era, but the prospect of retail, government, consumers and environmental advocates working together to diminish the production, distribution and disposal of bag waste has great merit, now and into the future.”
One of the students from West Hartford, Zoe Weissman, said “We’re going to get this world when we’re older and we want it in a good state. We don’t want dead animals and trash-ridden streets. We want the world how you guys had it. That’s why we want to do this now. If we wait any longer it’s going to be a mess and we don’t want that.”