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Norwalk looks to ban plastic bags

Concerned citizens attend a Ordinance Committee public hearing on a proposed plastic bag ban, Tuesday in Norwalk City Hall; Elsa Peterson Obuchowski, right, asked supporters to consider the needs of low-income residents.

Updated 7:35 p.m.: PDF added; 9:01 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. – Common Council members are poised to ban disposable plastic shopping bags.

The draft ordinance, set to be voted on by Council members in early January, would also require retail establishments to charge customers 10 cents for paper bags to encourage the use of reusable cloth bags. Repeated applause marked Tuesday’s Ordinance Committee public hearing on the matter, as most speakers offered enthusiastic support for the ban.

“Charging a dime for a bag is a fine way to get people into habits,” David Buea said.

Much of the commentary concerned the environmental hazards posed by the widespread, voluminous use of plastic.  Some commenters referenced a documentary segment shown this weekend on the CBS show 60 Minutes.

“Why a ban? The numbers tell a story,” Betty Ball, a member of Skip the Plastic Norwalk, said. “Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. The Hartford Courant estimates Connecticut uses 1 billion plastic bags a year, breaking that number down further to Norwalk using about 30 million bags a year.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater carries plastic into waterways, and 100,000 plastic bags make their way into Long Island Sound every year, she said.

“Plastic bags take hundreds of years to degrade, what’s more, they don’t break down completely but instead photo degrade into microplastics which absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment… another recent study found that 90 percent of table salt contains microplastics,” Ball said.

She added that municipalities are saving money by not having to process plastic bags, and a petition in support of the ban has been signed by 1,500 Norwalkers.

The Mayor’s Water Quality Committee supports the ban, Chairman Joe Schnierlein said.

“As a boater and a biologist, I have pulled plastic bags off of water fowl,” he said. “I have pulled plastic bags off of lobsters. I have pulled plastic bags off of motor boat engines, sailboat keels, it’s already out there and we have got to put a stop to it before it gets too ridiculous.”

“Bags were banned in Westport a couple of years ago and we all adjusted,” Dick Harris said. “… The adjustment isn’t all that bad, it’s pretty easy.”

But Elsa Peterson Obuchowski said the people in the crowded Council chambers didn’t represent Norwalk’s demographics.  “It’s really easy if you have a car, you carry bags with you,” Obuchowski said.

Low-wage job holders may not be able to carry stuff to work and a paper bag won’t be much good when walking home from a bus in the rain, she said.  She went on to suggest that reusable bags should be made available to low-income people.

The problem is broader, because, “If you go into store, it’s really, really hard to buy things that are not already encased in plastic,” she said.  Obuchowski wondered why a staple gun needs to be encased in plastic as if something terrible might happen to it otherwise.

Sam Griffith said that you can recycle plastic bags at Walmart or Stop n Shop.

“I believe this ordinance would be a solution in search of a problem. There’s solutions right now,” he said. “… If we were to have this ordinance approved it would be like cleaning a little itty bitty corner of the room over there as it relates to problem of plastics.”

Griffith supports a state-wide ban but opposes a local ban.  “It just doesn’t make any sense, especially where there is tremendous costs for the merchants,” he said.

John Flynn called it a “total waste of time” and asserted there are environmental issues in Norwalk that need to be addressed.  Steven Bentcover said people have lived with paper bags before and will be fine.

“Yes, there are more problems than simply plastic bags,” he said. “There are problems with single use bottles of water… you’ve got to start somewhere. I think this would be a wonderful first step to make Norwalk a more progressive city.”

Council President Tom Livingston (D-District E) said the Council has arranged through the Mayor’s Office and other groups to distribute reusable bags to low-income people, such as at Norwalk Housing Authority complexes.

There’s a six month delay once the ordinance is passed and the City intends to start an education program, which will include outreach to children in their schools, he said.

The Committee voted to remove a line from the draft ordinance that would have penalized retailers for not posting signs to inform shoppers about the plastic bag ban and the 10 cent fee for paper bags.

“Our intent, as we have discussed before, is not to go out there and penalize people. It’s really to help change a lifestyle, if you will,” Livingston said.

The needs of low-income people are “obviously a very big issue” whenever the Ordinance Committee discusses a change to the ordinances in “very diverse” Norwalk, Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) said.  She added that changes to ordinances can be revisited.

Members of her family ride the bus and carry cloth bags because they’re “easier to keep, to use, they’re reliable,” she said.  “The real point of this is to really change behavior.”

carryout bag ordinance draft 18-1218

51 comments

Rick December 21, 2018 at 6:11 am

How do we get the city to be as involved like this when it comes time for the next election?

It would also be nice if the health and welfare of low-income people when it comes to mold asbestos and rock crushing dust was as much as a concern.

Odd how this is moving faster than the noise ordinances Eloisa.

David Paulk wrote

Today, however, some experts express concerns that the ban on free bags has turned into a business with little interest in curbing consumers’ wasteful habits. Rather than motivating consumers to bring their own reusable bags when they go shopping, critics argue that the ban instead means most just pay a small fee for plastic bags, usually around 0.3 yuan (4 cents) each, depending on size.

If we are lucky maybe the police depts street team will enforce this ban. Using all of our city resources seems like the way to go.

No word on the new city carting recyclable contract I bet , seems the city has priorities and as usual not the same as us low income people.

Fortune describes middle class like this,,

“You’re middle class if you have two refrigerators. You have a new one in your kitchen, and you have your old one in the garage or basement, where you keep your beer.”

Maybe it will generate a new income for the low income people they can sell banned bags just like apples and pencils until the city bans that venture.

Only in Norwalk.

Milly December 21, 2018 at 6:24 am

I bet the majority of the people for the plastic bag ban drove to city hall in huge gas guzzling SUVs. A bunch of wanna be environmentalists. I tried using reusable bags but when filled they are too heavy and hard to carry plus they end up full of bacteria and cannot all be washed
Mean while all the landscapers are spraying lawns all over town with hazardous chemicals – why don’t they stop that.

Mitch Adis December 21, 2018 at 6:56 am

Why do we continue to ignore Dihydrogen Oxide? This compound is pervasive throughout the environment. Plastic should be regulated, but first things first!

Al Bore December 21, 2018 at 7:04 am

I am not for the ban of plastic bags, however if they do it they should not charge for paper bags. I am not in favor of reusable bags for many of the same reasons as Milly and will not use them. Time to grocery shop online as much as possible.

JJ December 21, 2018 at 7:44 am

Recyclable cloth bags CAN be washed, purchase those. I’ve been doing it for 10 plus years and my bags still have lots of life.

Norwalk Lost December 21, 2018 at 8:15 am

The bacterial and viral hazards of reusable shopping bags are well documented. The correct response for this should not be a wholesale ban but rather an eco-friendly plastic bag more friendly to the environment. With the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, any benefits would easily be dwarfed. Consulting The Plastics Industry Association on this would be a good place to start as opposed to initiating restrictions. . I would hope the Common Council spend as much time on focusing their energies to countering the city’s glide-path trajectory towards a Bridgeport solution by controlling budgets, restraining spending and making the city affordable to taxpayers rather than this.

James Cahn December 21, 2018 at 8:41 am

Do I think plastic bags are crappy for the environment? Yeah.

Do I think that I need Norwalk’s municipal government micromanaging my trips to the grocery store and Home Depot? Absolutely not.

The audacity of politicians deeming it their business to use government to “help change (my) lifestyle” is jaw dropping. Eloisa is my friend and I love her to death (and she’s reading this right now, shaking her head and smiling) and I’m guessing that Livingston thinks that he’s well intentioned but I couldn’t be less interested in their estimations of how my “lifestyle” needs to be changed.

I get it. This is feel-good stuff and it’s a layup. We get to signal to everyone else how “progressive” we are. The political class can say they actually did something and Tom makes Betty happy. But we shouldn’t ignore the intrusion.

A final thought: why are we coming up with new ordinances at all? We’re already told that we don’t have the money, the staff or the time to enforce existing ordinances (the enforcement of which would easily pay for the cost of their administration.) Wouldn’t our time be more effectively spent fixing that problem? And if this is passed and it suddenly is enforced what will be the reason for our continued non enforcement of others?

Another Opinion December 21, 2018 at 8:57 am

The NANNY State is here and just another example of BIG government at work. What next, a study on the ban on condoms due to their lack of biodegradability ?

Debora Goldstein December 21, 2018 at 9:34 am

Congratulations Norwalk,

You’ve allowed retailers to convince you to transfer their cost of doing business (providing carryout bags) to the consumers, effectively putting a tax on our poorest consumers.

Those lecturing everyone to suck it up and use reusable bags, which are easily washed are truly disconnected from the costs this imposes on the very poor.

Those without cars, those without the money to purchase those reusables (or donate to environmental causes to get them for “free”, those who pay to launder things.

Once again, our leaders fail to understand the difference between regulating an activity and allowing someone to charge/profit from that regulation.

I will now be spending more of my money in the towns that banned plastic bags, but whose stores are not charging for paper. The poorest in Norwalk will not have that luxury.

EnoPride December 21, 2018 at 9:59 am

“The real point of this is to really change behavior,” says Eloisa Melendez in regard to banning plastic bags. Uggghh…

This statement regarding concern for the environment made by a young woman who is all for The Sono Collection, a mall which many “real” Norwalk environmentalists tried to put the brakes on because they felt it would be an environmental polluting behemoth in that tight locale amongst residential areas.

Here is all the pollution we can look forward to being emitted from that monstrosity in the near future:

https://www.environmentalpollutioncenters.org/shopping-mall/

Good Luck trying to police all the chemicals pumped into the South Norwalk and East Norwalk air by The Sono Collection which you are responsible for voting in, City Hall. You have your work cut out for you! Pollution is a much larger scale issue which requires more consistent decision making than merely banning plastic bags.

Happy Holidays, Nancy, Bob and NoN readers!

David T McCarthy December 21, 2018 at 10:30 am

I have seen statistics that say between 10 and 20 people die daily from dihydrogen monoxide… including at least one Norwalker who died on his birthday recently, and yet Harry Rilling thinks the city should have no laws restricting access to this lethal substance. Ban DHM!

Merry Christmas, y’all

Piberman December 21, 2018 at 10:30 am

A City that can’t control or reduce spending, issue plausible Reval figures or even figure out how to attract major new business with good jobs now has achieved the “Graet Plastics Victory”. Adding more fuel to our reputation as the “hole in the middle of the donut”. No doubt about it. Norwalk continues to be known as “CT’s Greatest City”. At least within City hall.

Lisa Shanahan December 21, 2018 at 11:02 am

I fully support the plastic bag ban. These bags cause countless hazardous issues for our environment and cost us millions of dollars in clean up and health concerns. Ten cents a bag only begins to pay for the costs these bags create. New habits are not as hard to create as one would think, and this is an important habit to change. Many commentators to this article have raised concerns about other chemicals, gas guzzling cars, etc. All worthy concerns, but we should make the small, helpful changes that are before us. Banning plastic bags is a great small step we can all take.

Bill Wrenn December 21, 2018 at 11:22 am

I find it depressing to observe checkers in a grocery store sometimes using a dozen or more plastic bags for each person in line, knowing that these bags will be thrown out just minutes after the customer returns home, adding to the unsustainable burden of plastic waste in the environment. Norwalk’s banning plastic bags will not solve all the problems facing our environment, but it is a step in the right direction, and something all our citizens can be proud of.

Fenella December 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

According to an article in The Atlantic ( How the Plastic Bag Became so Popular) plastic grocery bags were introduced in The United States in 1979and were in wide use by 1982. That is only 40 years. Surely most of you remember going to the store with your own bags in the days before plastic? Nobody had plastic bags, including the low income folks who rode busses.
During a mere 40 years we have created a plastic monster. Let’s see how quickly we can turn the clock back and clean up after ourselves

marny Smith December 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm

It was heartening to see the Council Chambers filled to standing room only last Tuesday night. Maybe the Council should have their next meeting in the concert hall and urge all Norwalk citizens to come.

Proposing an ordinance banning plastic bags is an important first step in educating people to think about what changes they would have to make to continue to have the amazingly good life we all have here in this country as opposed to almost anywhere else. We are all entitled to basic freedoms here, but not at the expense of the earth and of other people who may suffer from our exercising our freedom. The earth is our air, water and land and we have become so disconnected to its importance to our existence that many of us don’t understand why we must curtail the emissions of things that are warming our planet and changing its climate.

Fossil fuels are the main culprit and plastics are derived from fossil fuels. The net of this is we should all stop using plastic thoughtlessly and make sure it is used only for important things in the future. I haven’t bought a plastic water bottle in two years, and am still using the same reusable bag from Channel 13 I’ve used for over ten years -as well as many other reusable bags. I am healthy and 86 years old, and can carry a full reusable bag in each hand (along with a cane in my right hand). Where there’s a will there’s a way and this ordinance banning plastic bags and other single use plastics will nudge us into finding that will.

Thank you for letting so many of us make comments.

Tonia Falconer Barringer December 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

I’m in favor of the plastic bag ban. It’s so easy to use reusable bags. The lightweight reusable bags fold small enough to fit in my purse. I agree that there are many other environmental issues to tackle but we are smart people, we can tackle them one at a time or at the same time. I’m willing to adjust my habits – I drive a car that gets 36 miles per gallon, do t use yard chemicals and avoid plastic as much as possible. Keep NORWALK beautiful. Also, please drop your extra reusable bags at the low income drop off points like the Open Door Shelter!

Tonia Falconer Barringer December 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm

I support the reduction of plastic bag use and am willing to adjust my habits to protect the health of the environment. I also think that we can tackle other environmental issues raised by many on this post.

Bryan Meek December 21, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Home shredders that make ingots for your 3D plastics printer are right around the corner. Low emissions incinerators that generate electricity are here.

The environmental cost of recycling a paper bag dwarfs that of a plastic bag. Deforestation, transport weight, chemical refinement, emissions, etc…. When plastics are a by product of petroleum refinement. Where will those byproducts go now?

Short sighted, feel good measures never work out. It’s why we have two trucks picking everything up only to comingle it in the same place.

Will there be a new plastic bags police, or will that fall under the mattress police duties?

Skip the Plastic Norwalk December 21, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Our website has information about plastic bags in addition to links to studies about plastic’s negative impact on our health, economy and environment. Like other forms of pollution, plastic pollution needs to be addressed as systematically as possible. As it is, a recent study found microplastics in 90% of table salt tested. skiptheplasticnorwalk.org

Judith Bacal December 21, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Reducing plastics in the environment is an effort that benefits all – the health of our water, our wildlife & human health. And as a coastal town who benefits economically, (oysters, fishing, boating & beaches) and aesthetically, the quality of life and the health of of our rivers & Long Island Sound should be of utmost importance to us. Reducing single use plastics is an action each individual can take.

SONO Resident December 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

There seems to be a lot of Whataboutism and negativity in this thread in response to what is a positive change for our city and the environment. Reusable plastic bags are commonly found lining our streets before finding their way into Long Island Sound. The “health hazards” of cloth bags is a ridiculous argument, you are more likely to find germs on your shopping cart or on the food you are picking out than your own cloth bags People for the most part are not going to start bringing their own reusable bags without some government intervention. This is what our government is for so I applaud their action.

Kate Davies December 21, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Every little step to reduce plastic is worth it. The facts that there are OTHER worthy issues does not reduce the need to reduce our use of plastic where ever we can.

Joe December 21, 2018 at 2:23 pm

1). I think old people may have a more difficult time lifting their groceries in heavily loaded paper bags, especially the unfortunate ones that have to use the bus.

2). Paper towels have nearly doubled in cost since 2016. From $1.00 to $1,70 each for Bounty. This expense will be charged to customers of course.

3) Our democratic city leaders should go after car tax cheats instead, Like Stamford http://www.municipaltaxservices.com/report_violator.html and make millions for Norwalk.

Priscilla Feral December 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Fundamental change is not easy for people, but there’s no denying that protecting our environment is paramount; it sustains lives, adn we have a moral obligation to be conscientious consumers. There are facts about the tons of plastic floating in our waterways. Microplastics make up 8 percent of the total tonnage of garbage in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (between Hawaii and California), and the rest is discarded fishing gear and debris from the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. To help stop plastic pollution of our oceans that chokes birds and marine life,please do your part. Plastic debris from discarded bags and more affects at least 267 species globally, including 86% of sea turtles, 44% of seabirds, and 43% of marine mammals. We simply are not entitled to be that selfish. Shun plastic throwaway bags as a step toward limiting plastic in the oceans, please.

Joe December 21, 2018 at 3:30 pm

I always see families buying big packages of fresh cut chicken parts covered in just one layer of plastic film.

Have Mr.s Amoruccio, Lalime,, Rn Quell and Dr. Tracey of our Board of Health approved of fresh chicken, pork and other meats co-mingling in transit with fresh fruit and vegetables in an absorptive reusable soft bag?

I think fresh chicken and turkey have salmonella in them before they’re cooked.

This doesn’t sound safe to me.

Germophobe December 21, 2018 at 4:05 pm

I couldn’t imagine going to Stew’s and see people with a pile of used, unsanitary bags tainted with old chicken and pork blood drippings to carry home prepared fresh salad bar and buffet dinners, fruits and vegetables and sandwiches for their kids. Laying one of those salmonella-infested bags on top of the bagging area will gross-out more than a few people, especially the cashiers and bagging clerks who have to touch them and stick their hands into the dirty, germ-infested re-usables and be exposed to the dried encrusted bacteria and insects. It would be no different than bringing in a pile of dirty baggie underwear to gather your groceries off of a grocery store conveyor belt, and if I did, the check-out line would be shut down and a HazMat crew would be called for rescue. I predict many people, especially those with compromised immune systems and the elderly, will be going to Fairfield, New Canaan, Bridgeport and Stratford for their shopping to avert any risk of diseases; except for the economically disadvantaged minorities and those who rely on public transportation. That Big Y in Monroe is looking good and safe.

Maureen Avery December 21, 2018 at 6:17 pm

The use of plastic in toilet paper is expanding rapidly. Is your committee looking into this? Just think how this will affect our ancient sewer systems . Better get going on this problem now.

JOHN C ROMANO December 21, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Great turnout great sentiments about the environment. One of Norwalk’s major issues right now and for the next 6 – 8 years is going to be the walk bridge project. If just half the people who are passionate about plastic bags showed up and wanted to know and weight in on the disaster before us

The walk bridge project: Years of toxic material in the River, I shutter to think about the material that will be dredged up when the center turn style is removed. What actually is in there under the river, what kind of monitoring will be done while project is underway, how will the spoils be handled, why was there a finding of no environmental impact when there certainly will be. This is the real issues for Norwalk. Put the same passion behind finding out and looking for alternitives. Norwalkers need to act now.

Will Erdef December 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Not so fast on the ban . . . from Wired (6/16),

“If your chief concern is climate change, things get even muddier. One of the most comprehensive research papers on the environmental impact of bags, published in 2007 by an Australian state government agency, found that paper bags have a higher carbon footprint than plastic. That’s primarily because more energy is required to produce and transport paper bags.

People look at [paper] and say it’s degradable, therefore it’s much better for the environment, but it’s not in terms of climate change impact,” says David Tyler, a professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon who has examined the research on the environmental impact of bag use. The reasons for paper’s higher carbon footprint are complex, but can mostly be understood as stemming from the fact that paper bags are much thicker than plastic bags. “Very broadly, carbon footprints are proportional to mass of an object,” says Tyler. For example, because paper bags take up so much more space, more trucks are needed to ship paper bags to a store than to ship plastic bags.”

I do not support the ban and would also shop in nearby towns should this go through. I also agree that reusing shopping bags for groceries is a health hazard.

Paul Cantor December 21, 2018 at 10:22 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7lYk1DSzv4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_pollution

https://1bagatatime.com/learn/plastic-bags-climate-change/

Production of methane and ethylene from plastic in the environment
Sarah-Jeanne Royer ,
Sara Ferrón,
Samuel T. Wilson,
David M. Karl

Abstract
Mass production of plastics started nearly 70 years ago and the production rate is expected to double over the next two decades. While serving many applications because of their durability, stability and low cost, plastics have deleterious effects on the environment. Plastic is known to release a variety of chemicals during degradation, which has a negative impact on biota. Here, we show that the most commonly used plastics produce two greenhouse gases, methane and ethylene, when exposed to ambient solar radiation. Polyethylene, which is the most produced and discarded synthetic polymer globally, is the most prolific emitter of both gases. We demonstrate that the production of trace gases from virgin low-density polyethylene increase with time, with rates at the end of a 212-day incubation of 5.8 nmol g-1 d-1 of methane, 14.5 nmol g-1 d-1 of ethylene, 3.9 nmol g-1 d-1 of ethane and 9.7 nmol g-1 d-1 of propylene. Environmentally aged plastics incubated in water for at least 152 days also produced hydrocarbon gases. In addition, low-density polyethylene emits these gases when incubated in air at rates ~2 times and ~76 times higher than when incubated in water for methane and ethylene, respectively. Our results show that plastics represent a heretofore unrecognized source of climate-relevant trace gases that are expected to increase as more plastic is produced and accumulated in the environment.
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200574

Andrew December 21, 2018 at 10:26 pm

So great to see so many residents expressing opinions about this.

Please, please do the same with many other issues facing the city.

Ron Morris December 21, 2018 at 10:59 pm

I find it odd that the pro goodie goods that support this nonsense all seem to be posted by names that I have never seen on this site before.. Makes you wonder.

Non Partisan December 22, 2018 at 6:44 am

…….and – after you stop using plastic bags you reduce the size of the waste stream- which reduces the cost of garbage……

Alan December 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

When the politicians come up with hot button legislation, keep your eyes wide open. They are using the issue to cover something else up. They did it in Stamford, with the plastic bag ban…moldy schools wee not secret but the ban bought time.
I also agree with Ron Morris. There sure are a lot of new posters here!

Rob Colgan December 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm

This is a no brainer. Of course we need to ban plastic bags. Anyone who says otherwise has their head buried in the sand (which is most likely littered with plastic).

Jason Milligan December 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

What is the cost of the ban both in dollars and in liberty?

Why stop with bags? Or the environment?

Peoe are making bad choices throughout their lives.

Under the same reasoning why not ban all hazardous or harmful activities?

Ban automobiles, electricity, burning wood, doing laundry, long showers, pesticides etc. Also desserts, bacon, fried food, and alcohol.

There is a cost benefit analysis that needs to be done, and we need to consider individual liberty and freedom.

Every individual is presntly allowed to ban themselves from using plastic bags.

Why don’t they?

Maybe we should ban or eliminate plastic bags, but let’s do the research before we make a snap decision.

There are aome obvious reasons that people use plastic bags. Do those benefits outway the costs?

Maybe

Eleanor Lx December 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm

The proposed ban needs to be vetoed by the mayor and is not well thought out. Further, it is very disadvantageous to area commerce and the low income. As a former Norwalk resident, I can not understand why the Council members are focused on this rather than the high tax structure that has driven many of us out. . . a sign of dysfunction to say the least.

Tysen Canevari December 23, 2018 at 11:12 am

Plastic bags ban really? How bout the increse in taxes that is coming. I am sure Stew Leonards will be thrilled to change to paper after all these years. NOT! I wouldnt expect anymore donated lunch at city hall from Stew Jr anymore.

Scott December 23, 2018 at 4:09 pm

It astounds me how much people here love government intruding in their lives. We have to have a ban! It’s not enough to educate people and let the individual make the choice. No, we have to have the ban. Charge for the bag!

It also astounds me how people here loving paying taxes. Oh, you may not realize it’s a tax because the government calls it a surcharge, a toll, a levy, an assessment…let alone all the taxes they are willing to call just that, e.g. income, property, sales, luxury, sin, estate, gas, etc. The list goes on an on. So let’s go ahead an add the bag tax.

I’m glad you all are making a lot of money and don’t mind giving it away to the government.

You deserve the government you elect…good luck Norwalk!!

Louise Washer December 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm

The Norwalk River Watershed Association supports the ban on plastic bags and the fee on paper bags. We must begin to take steps to remove plastic from our environment and our food chain. Boston has banned bags, as have Stamford, Greenwich and Westport. This necessary change is inevitable–let’s make Norwalk a leader. Just this year, our organization pulled almost 2000 pounds of trash from the Norwalk River, most of it plastic. It’s time to ban plastic bags as a start to addressing this environmental and human health crisis.

Victor Cavallo December 24, 2018 at 2:11 am

I’m not hearing a call to ban single-use plastic garbage bags, or single use plastic drycleaner garment bags, or single use plastic air pillows that Amazon uses to ship cell phones and computers, or single use plastic bubble wrap we use to send Christmas gifts to loved ones, or single use plastic shrink wrap used for plastic water bottles, or the shrink-wrapped plastic water bottles that we use for hydration during exercise or biking or hiking – and even those used by the Council and the Conservation Commission and the Harbor Commission and the Norwalk River Watershed Association, among others, during public meetings- all of which were probably purchased privately from Shop Rite or Stop and Shop and brought home in…plastic bags. If we’re going to protect our environment from single-use plastic consumables, let’s do it right and ban these environmentally toxic single use items now. And to set an example, the use of plastic water bottles by public officials during public meetings should be prohibited. Pellegrino and Perrier are available in glass bottles with metal caps.

Kathy Leeds December 24, 2018 at 10:21 am

The Rowayton Gardeners applaud the Committee for its proposed actions concerning plastic bags and straws. It may be only a small step. It definitely is only a first step. But we must start somewhere, and only changing our own behavior will impact generations to come.

Alan December 24, 2018 at 4:57 pm

The trouble is…you “start somewhere” and never end. I am not opposed per se, but it is never enough.
Look down in NYC. They now want to ban all styofoam and other packing materials. What will be next under Comrade Bill DiBlasio and others?
The ban makes you feel good but will not clean up the environment much.
The meetings will be well attended by folks driving their gas sucking SUV’s who will go home and turn up their oil fired furnaces,etc.

Matt December 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

To eliminate the Norwalker’s moral grapple on whether to have plastic bags or not. Why not have Jason Milliagn buy all the plastic bags in Norwalk. The city can then sue him him for the bags back.. This can be in litigation for the next 5 years with rising legal costs but at least we are accommodating the 1500 out the 89,000 Norwalkers.

Peter Franz December 30, 2018 at 12:32 pm

So much whining. Anyone who’s shopped in europe knows this is simple as can be. Stores expect you to show up with your reusable bag. There is no disposable option. You can buy a reusable bag for a few euro’s if you don’t come prepared.

The paper bag comparison is a straw man argument. The discussion is about stopping the disposable mindset, not replacing disposable plastic, with disposable paper. We callously dispose of way too much.

This is way easier than people are making it out to be.

Mary Beth Wetmore January 4, 2019 at 11:42 am

I wash my reusable bags, even the plastic ones. Come on people, we need to try! I know it’s only one issue in the big picture, but it’s something. These bags are all over and in Long Island Sound and don’t go away.

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