Connecticut, like many places across our nation and the globe, has a growing concern about pollution caused by single-use plastic bags. Plastic shopping bags are costly, environmentally harmful, and completely unnecessary. They are typically used for an average of 12 minutes, but have impacts on our environment that last for generations.
It is estimated that nearly a billion plastic bags are used in Connecticut every year! The free distribution of single-use checkout bags comes with significant economic and environmental costs to Connecticut:
Littering our Communities: Plastic bags litter in our parks, beaches, roads, and waterways; costing taxpayers millions each year to clean them up.
Polluting Waterways and Harming Wildlife: Plastic bags never fully break down. Instead, they break up into tiny microplastics, which are frequently mistaken for food by aquatic wildlife. At least 267 marine and avian species are adversely impacted by pollution from plastic bags!
Damaging Municipal Infrastructure: Plastic bags are easily swept into storm drains where they lead to severe blockages, causing infrastructure damage and localized flooding. Plastic bags also frequently end up in the curbside recycling bin, where they become entangled in recycling equipment, creating costly delays for municipal recyclers and wasting taxpayer money.
Paper Bags Are Not the Solution
Unfortunately, paper bags also carry their own adverse impacts on our environment. Paper bags require cutting down approximately 14 million trees annually in the U.S., and they require large amounts of energy and fresh water to produce. Additionally, they take up more space in the municipal solid waste stream than plastic bags, and do nothing to change the throw-away culture that plastic bags perpetuate. Connecticut needs a policy that does not replace one disposable bag with another, but instead encourages consumers to bring their own bags!
Tell Hartford Lawmakers to Pass a Bag Ban for the 21st Century!
Proposed legislation in CT (SB 1003) would ban plastic checkout bags in Connecticut, without addressing paper bags. This is a good first step, but it can create an unintended consequence—encouraging consumers to switch to paper bag use, which also adversely impacts our environment. The goal is not to switch from plastic to paper; the goal is to switch from single-use bags to reusable bags!We need you to tell legislative leaders to ban plastic bags and also include a charge on paper bags.