Surcharge proposed for plastic shopping bags

A proposed bill would charge shoppers who use plastic bags (WFSB)

Right now, you typically don’t need to pay extra for plastic bags at the grocery store.

However, if a new bill keeps moving forward, shoppers might have to.

Backers say plastic bags are littering the environment, and that is what they’re trying to avoid.

It has been an issue for some time, and some stores already take steps to reduce their plastic bag use.

Price Rite charges $0.10 for a heavy-duty plastic bag in order to cut down on bags.

Some lawmakers want stores to charge you at least $0.05 for every plastic bag used.

Stores impacted by the law would include grocery and retail stores with gross annual sales of at least $2 million.

Stores with at least 10,000 square feet of retail space, and any convenience store or food mart; places that sell milk, soda, bread, and snacks.

"It might be a good idea, people take their own bag to go grocery shopping and don’t have to take a bag from the store,” said Aphia Saechang, of New Haven.

According to data from the Citizen Campaign for the Environment, Connecticut residents use approximately 800 million to 1 billion single-use bags every year.

Supporters say having to pay a nickle will cut down on that number, while also bringing in an estimated $12 million the first year. That money would be used to support state parks.

Similar plastic bag bills have been pushed in the General Assembly in prior years, but didn't pass.

At a public hearing last month, opponents argued it was essentially another tax that would be passed onto customers, and hurt smaller stores.

Supporters argue, the alternative is hurting the environment.

"I think it’s a great idea, because we're just wasting plastic and you always see plastic bags flying around and I think people at stores just take more plastic bags than they actually need,” said Kyle Rosado, of Guilford.

If the bill becomes law, it would take effect Oct. 1.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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