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Article Published July 24, 2019
About those Bags
Meg Kilgore

The consequences of a last-minute action in Connecticut’s legislature before its May adjournment, plus action by a second Branford grocery store, will make significant changes before BYO Branford’s Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance takes effect on Dec. 12. It’s complicated.

BYO Branford’s goal was to have shoppers bring reusable cloth checkout bags to replace most importantly the single-use plastic checkout bags, but also avoid a switch to paper bags. In Branford, Caron’s Corner led the charge four months ago by discontinuing use of plastic checkout bags and switching to recycled paper checkout bags. The shop saw about 50 percent of its customers bring their own bags, but with half taking paper bags, the incremental cost of the paper bags necessitated charging 10 cents per paper bag.

Now Big Y, because it also recognizes the environmental dangers of both plastic and recycled paper checkout bags, will eliminate all single-use plastic checkout bags and charge 10 cents for each recycled paper checkout bag starting Aug. 1.

Both stores are sending the message: “Bring your own reusable checkout bags every time you shop!” I encourage your readers to change their habits now and to always keep reusable bags in their car ready for shopping.

Big Y had previously announced this change for 2020, but pushed it up to start on the same date that Connecticut’s new law puts a surcharge of 10 cents on single-use plastic checkout bags used by retailers. This surcharge will be in effect until Aug. 1, 2021, when retail stores must discontinue using single-use plastic bags for check out.

However, because the ordinance passed by Branford’s RTM takes precedent over the Connecticut State law on plastic checkout bags, no single-use plastic bags can be used for retail sales in Branford starting Dec. 12, 2019.

Meg Kilgore