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Source: Monroe Patch

Will Monroe Ban Plastic Bags?

Environmentalist group is lobbying for a town ordinance banning the use of plastic bags in favor of reusable ones.


Posted: September 21, 2010
Originally Published: September 21, 2010

Flimsy, plastic bags tend to hang around for a long time after shoppers are finished with them. The bags can be seen blowing around outside and getting caught up in trees, and taking up space in landfills as the materials begin to decay at a snail's pace.

Brittany Ferenz, Connecticut coordinator of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said Americans use over 100 billion plastic bags a year.

"Reducing plastic bag pollution has a profound effect on our land and water," Ferenz said, "from the aesthetics of our streets to the ecological affects on the Long Island Sound."

Citizens Campaign for the Environment is trying to do something about it, by lobbying towns to pass ordinances banning plastic bags and encouraging consumers to change their habits by bringing their own reusable bags when they shop.

"It's cheap and easy," Ferenz said. "Bring your own bags, BYOB, it's something easy people can do to help the environment."

Westport has already implimented a ban on the giveway of free plastic bags at the checkout counter. As a result, use of reusable bags increased by 70 percent in only a year-and-a-half, according to Ferenz.

"We highly agree with the legislation Westport has been using and it's a good model for other towns to use as well," she said.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Andy Keller, who dresses up as the infamous Plastic Bag Monster, a costume made with 500 bags, the number the average American uses a year, teamed up for an event at Penfield Beach in Fairfield in July to encourage a ban there.

Wilton will hold a public hearing on a proposed plastic bag ban in its town on Sept. 20, and Ferenz has asked the Monroe Town Council to approve a ban of its own.

Ferenz had accepted an invitation to speak before the council's Legislative & Administrative Committee.

"I think they're reasonably going to wait to see what surrounding towns are going to do," she said of the experience.

JP Sredzinski, chairman of the Legislative & Administrative Committee, could not be reached for comment in time for this story.

Fairfield's Representative Town Meeting chose not to approve a plastic bag ban about two years ago, but, so far, Ferenz said she has not encountered any resistence there nor in any of the other towns where she has presented the concept.

"Reducing plastic bag consumption saves energy, marine mammals and wildlife, reduces litter and protects our environment," she said. "The days of living in a throw-away society should be replaced with reusing reusable bags."