State Lawmakers Consider Fee for Single-Use Bags

Getting your groceries or other purchases put in a bag the next time you’re at the store could cost you if a bill state lawmakers are considering becomes law.

Each bag could come with a 5 cent fee as part of that proposal, which is meant to encourage recycling.

The charge would apply to both plastic and paper bags at a large number of stores across our state. Its supporters say it’s about helping the environment, but some shoppers said they see it as just another money grab.

Denise Vojnich said she always brings her own reusable bags with her to the store instead of taking free ones at the register, so she supports the proposal being considered statewide that could compel more people to do the same.

“Who wants to pay more money at the grocery store? If you can save money by reusing, then they’re going to reuse. It’s going to force them,” the Newington resident said.

Proposed HB Bill 5019 would charge that 5 cents for every single use bag a customer takes at stores with more than $2 million in annual sales, joining places like Washington, DC and Montgomery County, Maryland which already charge residents a fee for plastic bags.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Christine Conley, said it’s all about encouraging citizens to make positive change in the environment.

“The goal is to get people to not be using single use bags. The goal is to get people to use recyclable bags, multi-use bags, and to limit plastic bags in our parks, on our beaches and in our landfills,” the Democrat, who represents the 40th District, said.

But some residents, like Mark Barkasy of Manchester, said people who want to recycle bags should do it on their own, and this is yet another bill for residents already paying too much.

“Honestly we’re taxed enough in this state as it is,” Barkasy said. “If they want to do that, I see plenty of people doing that already in a lot of the local stores.”

The proposal has been referred to the environmental committee. The next step would be public hearings, which Conley said could happen in the next couple of months before possibly moving forward to the full legislature for a vote.

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