Connecticut lawmakers to vote on plastic bag, foam container ban

Several states considering environmental measures

By Rob Polansky
WBAL via CNN

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut lawmakers are planning to vote on a bill to ban plastic bags and foam containers on a statewide level.

Lawmakers have been working to find a bipartisan solution that's both good for the environment and the economy.

A news conference on the subject happened Wednesday at the state capitol in Hartford.

Both lawmakers, like Democratic chair of the Senate Environmental Committee Sen. Christine Cohen, and environmental groups spoke.

"What the bill does, it enacts a ban by July 1st of 2021, allowing businesses to flex and get ready for a hard ban," said Senator Christine Cohen.

More than a dozen communities in Connecticut have already passed local ordinances to prohibit the free distribution of plastic bags by retailers.

The concern is that a shift from plastic to alternatives, like paper, places additional costs on supermarkets and food stores.

"Where a plastic bag may cost 2 cents, a paper bag costs 28 cents, so you should give these businesses time to adapt," said Rep. David Rutigliano.

Rutigliano is also a restaurant owner. He says restaurants and a lot of grocery stores are already switching away from plastic bags.

The House of Representatives has already voted to ban restaurants and caterers from using Styrofoam containers.

They could face fines, but the ban would not affect food trucks where those types of plates and containers are often used.

Foam takes a long time to decompose, and is harmful to wildlife, and the ban would reduce litter.

New York City has a similar ban on foam containers. Maine was the first state to put a ban in place.

If the Senate votes to ban them, Connecticut would join those states.

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