‘The Folly Of Central Planners’

Published: June 24, 2019 at 12:35 pm


To the Editor:

Here’s our bag reality. Thanks to the undue burden imposed on Newtown’s businesses and residents by our Legislative Council, beginning in October, Newtown’s businesses will be banned from providing you plastic checkout bags and forced to charge you 10 cents for each paper bag. And thanks to our Connecticut state lawmakers, beginning August 1st, plastic checkout bags throughout Connecticut will be taxed at 10 cents each, until July 1, 2021, when they’ll be banned. (We’ll see — Connecticut isn’t known for getting rid of a tax stream.)

So what’s a gal/guy to do who has relied on plastic checkout bags because they’re sanitary, convenient, and highly reusable? Well, we had Legislative Council members tell us that it’s “easy” to switch to their preferred reusable bags. Let’s see how easy.

Big Y provides “tips for cleaning your reusable bags to prevent cross-contamination and reduce risk for foodborne illness.” Did you catch that? If you reuse your grocery checkout bags, you risk foodborne illness, unless you closely follow their tips:

“Designate separate bags to always use for the same type of product (e.g.: produce, seafood, meat, shelf-stable products, cleaners).” Machine or hand wash, line dry. Don’t store these bags in your car. “Unfortunately — that’s a big no-no! Reusable bags should be kept in a cool, dry space with adequate air flow, since dark, warm and humid environments (think: in the trunk of your car) are where bacteria thrive.”


We were told that plastic is so bad that plastic checkout bags must be banned, so we’ll purchase and use the much better “reusable” bags. Let’s look at the “reusable” bags that Big Y sells — what are they made of? Polypropylene… a plastic!

And here’s a final tip from Big Y: “Have a bag that’s seen better days? Follow the ultimate food safety guideline: When in doubt, throw it out!” Discard more plastic!

If this whole bag ban/fee thing weren’t so serious, it would be hilarious.

So, let’s say you’re at a Newtown grocery store and realize you forgot your “reusable” bags. (It even happens to bag-ban proponents, admittedly.) You could return home and get them (time, environmental impact), or go ahead and shop. If you shop, you could:

*Pay 10 cents per paper bag (if they even provide them);

*Purchase more “reusable” bags to wash and add to your growing collection (or to throw out); or

*Pile everything back into your grocery cart, then into your car, and then into your home (say 50-plus items ranging from tiny to bigger).

Here’s another option. Purchase now-banned-in-Newtown style plastic bags in bulk from amazon.com for less than 3-cents per bag. (It’s what Californians have been doing since their state ban.) Search on “plastic shopping bags.” Keep a stack of them in your car, and you’re always ready to go. They take up little space, they’re clean, and you can reuse and recycle them. Well, recycle them until the Connecticut ban takes effect — then stores will likely no longer offer recycling.

The folly of central planners.


Cathy Reiss

42 Obtuse Road, Newtown June 19, 2019


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