Start saying goodbye to single-use plastic bags.
Come July 1, they’ll no longer be allowed at the store checkout.
The ban is the second step of Connecticut’s single-use plastic bag law which first enacted a 10-cent fee in August of 2019.
And even with a three months suspension of the fee during the pandemic for safety concerns, the president of the Connecticut Food Association says the legislation has no question changed consumer behavior and quickly too.
“We’ve eliminated just in traditional retail grocery stores over 500 million bags since the laws inception,” said Wayne Pesce.
Before the fee, Pesce say less than 1 in 10 shoppers brought their own bag to the store.
Now, more than 8 do.
“Folks are used to bringing in their own bags at this point and we’re better off for it,” said Pesce.
The CT Food Association represents grocery stores big, small, and independent around our state.
“We supported that law and I think it makes our communities cleaner.”
Last year, 44.3 million plastic bags were still used at checkout.
At 10 cents a pop that cost consumers $4.43 million which the state took in.
“I’m going to get cheese and things like that and I always keep it in the car,” said Olga Jackson, of her one of many reusable bags.
The New Britain resident says she never used to care about what she carried until she watched a documentary about the impact of plastics on our environment.
One residual effect of the state’s single use plastic bag law, many stores started charging 10 cents for paper bags too.
Big Y and Stop & Shop tell NBC Connecticut that they did that and will continue to do so -- to double down, encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags.
But there’s no question the cost helps store’s bottom lines too. Many stores are now no longer taking the hit to help us carry our purchases back to our car.
“The cost of paper is a real issue too. You’re looking at 8 cents a bag,” said Pesce.
But remember this is a cost you don’t have to incur, if you continue to bring your own bag.
Spokespersons for Kohls and TJX stores say they will offer paper bags at no charge to Connecticut customers once the July 1st ban is in place.
Experts remind shoppers to periodically clean and disinfect your reusable bags and store them in a dry place, so they last even longer.
What about those produce bags? They’ll still stay in stores for sanitary reasons, but Pesce hopes that we could see a switch to a greener alternative in the future.