Bag It!

Westporters may not have noticed, because over a decade ago we were the first town east of the Mississippi River to ban plastic bags.

But a state law that went into effect August 1 mandates a charge of 10 cents for every single-use plastic bag.

In 2021, they’ll be outlawed completely.

There is no state-mandated charge for paper bags — which, by some estimates, cost up to 10 times more than plastic bags. Paper bags have their own environmental impacts too.

So although we haven’t noticed the plastic bag charge here, we’re seeing its ripple effects.

Many stores — including CVS and Fresh Market — have switched to paper bags without handles. They’re inconvenient, and perhaps a subliminal way to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags.

An “06880” reader reports that Walgreens is charging 10 cents for each paper bag.

Meanwhile — reading between the lines of this sign — it looks like Stop & Shop will start charging for paper bags next month.

19 responses to “Bag It!

  1. We should have NO bags available. Europe does it. Costco does it. The environmental impacts of tens of thousands of double paper bags at Traders must end. Please.

    • Arline Gertzoff

      Thank you as I lived in Belgium for my work.
      Why is it so difficult to bring in a reusable bag.?Costco’s is always crowded so people know the system.It will be easier when all bags are eliminated.

  2. Stews is charging .10/paper bag too!

    • It has nothing to do with Stew Leonard’s. It’s the whole city. July 8th.
      The City of Norwalk past an bag ordinance. It involves every store. Also Greenwich and Stamford pasted an ordinance also
      The state also past an ordinance on August 1.
      Retailers can choose to charge for any single use bag regardless if it’s paper or plastic. Many retailers have just removed the plastic from their stores.

  3. In the Norwalk stores I’ve been to this month, I have noticed that, contrary to this article, paper bags cost $0.10 and plastic are not available at all. – Chris Woods

  4. Celeste Champagne

    Shop Rite is charging 10 cents for paper bags also as are all stores in Norwalk.

  5. Anyone know, besides the benefit to the environment, who is benefitting from the money? Is the state getting any? Curious.

    • The 10-cent fee for plastic bags (where they have not been prohibited) is actually a tax that goes back to the state. According to CT Mirror, “the tax is expected to raise $30.2 million in fiscal year 2020 and $26.8 million in 2021 for the state’s coffers.” That does not make sense, as plastic bags are banned in 2021 (unless the ban does not take effect January 1 that year). Here is the link to the story:

      The story also notes that in some states with a plastic bag ban, some of the money collected goes back to retailers to help them compensate for the cost of the more expensive paper bags.

  6. Trader Joe’s still gives paper bags at no charge. In fact, they double-bagged my order yesterday.

    • About 20 years ago I was waiting in line at Waldbaum’s in Westport and the guy ahead of me was buying four boxes of corn flakes. He asked to have them double-bagged! That seemed like a great waste even then. Bringing your own bags will be second nature very quickly.

  7. According to the ordinances I have read for Stamford and Norwalk as an example the “merchant’ keeps the .10 cents. There are no ‘bag police’ coming around doing a audit or collecting for the towns.

  8. I remember when all they had were the standard old fashioned paper bags. You were lucky to get the groceries into the house.

  9. Jens Büttner

    BYO – Bring Your Own is the only acceptable solution!
    As long as this learning and educational process goes on, a paper bag should cost at least $ 0.25 to accelerate the “learning process”, or offer no bags at all, besides the reusable bags.
    The environment is not waiting, the process needs to speed up.

  10. Do you remember the movie, “The Graduate,” when Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin was advised — “plastics, Benjamin, plastics!”

  11. Mary Schmerker

    I have talked recycling since the 1960’s . I am all for the elimination of plastic bags. We have several places that we frequent trained not to bring us straws, plastic or paper. But oddly enough on paper bags, we deliberately go a few places to get paper bags ( Trader Joes are wonderful with handles). Here our recycling is curbside and mixed so we actually need paper bags to recycle paper. Bundling all the paper into one paper bag means that it does get recycled rather than trashed. It usually takes two weeks worth of paper to stuff the bag . Keep up the good work Westport. You have always been a leader.

  12. Irene Mastroicovo

    Reusable bags is a no brainer. My only problem is I bring one into the store for a “quick” shopping and lo’ n behold, I can not pass up sales so now I need another bag and I’m too lazy to go back to the car so I pay the 10 cents. Butt I feel guilty because I’m a child of the 60’s and it seems odd to go back to paper bag because I thought they were a no-no years ago in our effort to save trees. Oh well, life is cyclical I guess.