The Mansfield Town Council passed the “Bring Your Own Bag” Ordinance on February 11, 2019, which will go into effect March 13, 2019. The prohibition of using plastic checkout bags takes effect six months later on September 13, 2019. At that time, all Mansfield businesses shall not provide or make available any plastic checkout bags. Businesses can either supply customers with a paper bag or customers can bring their own bags. Customers will still have access to produce and product bags, dry cleaner bags and trash bags.
Mansfield is the first town in eastern Connecticut to adopt such an ordinance, but there have been several communities west of the Connecticut River that have recently passed ordinances banning plastic checkout bags. According to Mansfield Mayor Paul Shapiro, “The issue of plastic bags, and how they harm aquatic life once they are in the waste stream is an international problem that we cannot solve alone. The Bring Your Own Bag ordinance reflects the consensus of our community that we all need to do what we can to make our planet a better place. I could not be happier with the good work of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, as well as the young people who expressed their support for this Ordinance. We are all indebted to them.”
The impetus for this ordinance came from a growing concern about the consumption of single-use plastics and its effect on our oceans. It was the decision of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee to focus on one aspect of single-use plastics – plastic checkout bags – where there is an available alternative that supports waste prevention. The intent of the ordinance is to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags and their effect in our environment. The goal is to change consumer behavior to bring their own bags - not just switch to paper bags. There has been a convergence of circumstances making it, in the estimation of the Committee, the right time to shift from single-use to reusable bags. For one, recycling markets have been weakened. The materials collected for recycling need to be of the highest quality in order to be marketed for re-manufacture into new products. The most common contaminant found with the materials from recycle carts is plastic bags. In fact, according to Willimantic Waste Paper, the sorting facility shuts down operations for four hours each day to remove the plastic bags that have become tangled in their equipment.
In preparation for September 13, 2019, the Town Solid Waste Advisory Committee will be promoting its teal blue reusable “Bring Your Own Bag” bag. You may find committee members at upcoming town events or grocery stores with bags in hand. These bags are also available at the Mansfield Senior Center, 303 Maple Road, Storrs. The Senior Center hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Do you have more reusable bags than you need? Please bring them to the Senior Center where they have a cloth bag share container. Gently used clean bags are needed!
To get a better understanding of the ordinance, please visit www.mansfieldct.gov/reusable-bags or contact the Mansfield Recycling Coordinator by calling 860-429-3333 or e-mailing email@example.com.