Resident wants to trash plastic bag and straw ban

New London

Just a week after voters in Stonington approved a ban on one-time use plastic bags and straws, one resident wants to trash the new ordinance.

“If they give out a straw without the patrons asking for it it’s a $150 fine,” said Stonington resident Tom Maher.

He says the penalties are too strict for those violating the ban set to go into effect in six months. 

“According to the ordinance if they do it they can take their business license,” said Maher.

First-time violators are given 14 days to comply before any penalties are levied.

“I do think that it’s important to have some type of enforcement to it to hold the businesses accountable,” said Mia Byrnes who owns Mia’s Cafe in the Pawcatuck section of town.

Mia’s Cafe went strawless months ago while other restaurants in town have switched to paper straws to cut down on plastics polluting the environment.

Related: Statewide plastic bag ban among several bans debated at Capitol

“How much of that is from the straws in Stonington in sit down restaurants?” asked Maher.

He is concerned the intent of the law could later be misinterpreted.

“Eminent domain do you think the intent of the law was to steal people’s houses to build hotels?” said Maher.

He is passing out a petition to try to overturn the ordinace passed at town meeting and have the question go to residents in a town wide referendum. He needs 200 signatures to do so.

We asked Robert Engel if he would sign the petition. “No I think it’s a good thing to stop it really,” said Engel. “If you look on TV you see oceans all over the world full of plastic.”

“In a way it should have been done 30, 40 years ago,” added resident Dean Mellow.

“I think the ban is important,” said Byrnes. “We’ve been doing here Mia’s Cafe probably six to eight months now.”

Maher has until 4:00 p.m. on Monday to get his petition into the town clerk’s office which will need to confirm the signatures.

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