Stonington Considers Ban on Plastic Straws, Bags and Take-Out Containers

The town is considering a ban plastic straws, bags and take-out containers.

It could be the last straw for Stonington.

Town officials are looking into whether or not the town should ban plastic straws, bags and take-out containers.

“It should have been done a long time ago,” said Mystic resident Kyle Chapman. “It's very harmful to the ocean which is a big part of obviously the culture in Mystic and Stonington and has been for 100’s of years and we should be taking care of the ocean.”

First Selectman Rob Simmons was approached by town residents who asked him to try to come up with a solution to the town’s littering problem. Simmons said he has walked the town’s shoreline and personally picked bags and bags of plastic waste.

“Why do we have plastic straws that we use just once?” Simmons asked.

A small number of local restaurants have already made the switch to paper goods and grocery stores have started supplying customers with paper bags but some say that the alternative doesn’t live up to the original.

“I think they need to improve on the design though, because they are really flimsy and they fall apart real quick and they get all soggy,” said Rachel Weisz-Smith of paper straws. “But I think being that this is like the rollout of the paper straws I’m hoping that within time soon that they improve upon the design.”

The potential change in Stonington comes on the heels of an announcement by Starbucks earlier this week that they will stop using plastic straws by 2020. Fort Meyers and Seattle have both issued plastic straw bans and proposals are being considered in San Francisco and New York.

Other cities in Connecticut have also followed suit. Greenwich passed a ban on single-use plastic bags that goes into effect in September of this year. The Board of Representatives in Stamford have been working to nail down details of a ban that would work in their city.

“We’re one town, we’re 18,000 people,” Selectman Simmons says. “ We’re just a small community but when they say think globally, act locally –that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday night in favor of creating a seven-member task force that will look into the possibility of banning the one-time use plastics. Members of the task force will be appointed in two weeks and then have 90 days to gather information and report back to the board to give a recommendation.

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