Letter: RTM Should Think Twice about Plastic Bag Ban

Submitted from Joanne Clark, Old Greenwich

RTM should think again before banning the bag
Municipalities should not be able to dictate how a retailer interacts with its customers. When I pay for a product, I expect it to be properly packaged. The cost of the packaging is already included in the purchase. No additional charge should be required.

Where on the Town’s priority list is banning plastic bags? How will this help the town run more efficiently or make life better for residents? And who will be responsible for oversight?  25 years ago Voice for the Environment developed a “Can You Do Without A Bag” initiative with mixed results, yet a net positive.

It takes time to change a habit. We learned that every shopping situation is not the same. But over the years more and more residents have taken to using re-usable bags for groceries. Success can be measured in many ways and takes time. Public information notices are a positive way to encourage re-usable bags use.

Perhaps the RTM should take a bigger picture view of the environmental issue – Plastic bags are only one item that can turn into litter.

If environmental initiatives are the focus of the RTM, then all options should be considered. What is the ultimate goal? Will the RTM continue to ban items one at a time?

If plastic bags are banned for use by retailers, more plastic bags will be purchased for a one-time use like trash, gardening and carrying wet or dirty items as well as just storing items in the home. Currently, many plastic grocery bags are re-used.

Banning plastic bags for use by retailers will not stop the use of plastic bags by residents. And charging for a bag is sending a mixed message such as, if you can afford to pay you can use…

Respectfully submitted,
Joanne Clark
Old Greenwich