Draft Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance Moves To Legislative Council
Voting to send a Draft Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance forward to the Legislative Council was Newtown’s ordinance committee on April 30.
Committee Chair Ryan Knapp said, “It was not unanimously agreed that this is the version we should put forward,” but his committee did vote to send it to the Council.
He expects the Council will vote to “either send it to public hearing or send it back to the [ordinance] committee,” which meets again on May 15. Should the proposed draft ordinance go to hearing, it most likely will be at 7 pm on June 5, he said.
The draft states, “The purpose of this ordinance is to improve the environment in Newtown and the health, safety, and welfare of its residents by reducing the use of plastic bags and paper bags for checkout and purchased goods and encouraging the use of reusable bags.”
The draft states restrictions such as, “No business shall provide or sell plastic checkout bags…”
“No business shall provide or sell plastic bags at any town facility… unless otherwise permitted…”
Acceptable check out bags, according to the draft, would include reusable bags and or recyclable paper bags. “A business shall charge at minimum a 10-cent user fee per paper bag.”
The ordinance shall become operative four months following its effective date.
Enforcement: The ordinance “shall be implemented, administered, and enforced by the town… or town body designated by the first selectman.
Regarding non-compliance, the draft states, “In the event that compliance… is not feasible… the first selectman may grant a waiver of not more than six months…”
Mr Knapp said that at the April 30 meeting, “We opened the meeting for voter comment.”
In an e-mail provided to The Newtown Bee by Mr Knapp, he noted several residents spoke at that meeting:
Vanessa Villamil said she hopes Newtown is the 11th town to pass a plastic bag ban;
Lynn Hungaski said she supports the fee for paper bags and feels it is needed. She said she feels we need to do everything we can to lower our use of paper bags and cited statistics that showed an 85 percent reduction of paper bag usage when a fee was charged;
Sue Kassierer also supports a paper bag fee;
Kathy Reiss is not in favor of the ban and feels the use of plastic is the best approach;
A handful of other residents offered their thoughts regarding ordinances changing residents’ behavior for the better, environmental studies regarding plastic bags, dangers of plastic to the ecosystem, and several residents asked for the ordinance wording about the fee from a ‘maximum’ of ten cents back to a ‘minimum’ of ten cents for paper bags.
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