Plastic Bag Ban is Almost Here; New Plastic Bag Bin Added to Holly Hill

The town’s plastic bag ordinance goes into effect on September 12.

Local businesses received letters over the summer informing them about the upcoming ordinance.

Pat Sesto, Greenwich’s director of Environmental Affairs, said the goal is not to impose unnecessary burdens on local businesses.

“Businesses should be aware, the ordinance gives direction on hardships that would allow ongoing use of plastic check out bags; namely when the products being sold would not do well in paper, e.g. wet/damp products,” she said. “The cost differential between plastic and paper is not a hardship.”

Ms. Sesto, who gave details on the ordinance and its importance during a talk at the Greenwich Water Club in April, said the town offers a hardship exemption to local businesses can apply for if they are still trying to use up their supply of plastic check out bags.

“We have already had a few businesses file for this extension,” she said. “The business needs to provide the date by which they expect to exhaust their current supply and, provided it’s reasonable, there is no issue with granting such extensions.”

That said, Sesto noted “reasonable” is a variable term.  She said she received a request for a one-year extension from a small church thrift store.

“Their volume is comparatively low and it makes sense that it could take a while to go through their supply,” she said. “Conversely, a more traditional retail store is unlikely to have a supply of more than 4-6 months on hand, so a request for a lengthier waiver would need some further discussion.”

Click here for the exemption form: BusiEstBYOROHardship

Meanwhile, at the dump, Patrick Collins, Environmental Operations Manager said City Carting has provided a container for clean plastic bags that will be recycled.

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“Folks who empty out there single stream recycling from a plastic bag are asked to place the empty bag in the bin,” Collins said.

There is also a new container for shredded paper, which should not be included in single stream recycling.

Residents empty their single stream recycling into containers at Holly Hill. Clean empty plastic bags can now be placed inside a designated bin adjacent to the containers. Photo: Leslie Yager

The bin is not intended for plastic checkout bags, but to capture the bags people use to deliver their single stream recycling to Holly Hill.

Collins said residents can also use the bin for their clean uncontaminated bags that are not included in the ordinance, including dry cleaning bags, clean produce bags and other film type products – as long as they’re clean.

According to volunteers at BYOGreenwich, Stop and Shop is planning a promotion offering two reusable bags for $.99 in early September at both Greenwich stores. Also, they will be handing out free reusable bags at the Go Wild event.

Also, Anthony Lopez, RTM member from District 1, is doing a reusable Bag Drive. He said BYOGreenwich donated 1,200 bags and Stop & Shop is on board with thousands more.

Lopez said anyone who wants to join the effort and donate or help with the giveaways can reach out to him at his RTM email address, [email protected]

“I plan to start the giveaways in the first weekend of September, and to continue throughout the month,” Lopez said. “I will be contacting HATG to inquire about being able to conduct the drives on their properties, including senior residences.”

“I believe that Greenwich is a place full of people who care about each other,” Lopez continued. “Despite what may be going on in our politics,  I know that we always find a way to come together and to take care of our own.”

See also:

PHOTOS, VIDEO: A Close-Up Look at City Carting’s Single Steam Recycling

The Future is Not Plastic in Greenwich. Plastic Bag Ban with Zero Fee Wins RTM Vote