Restaurant says new plastic ban in Groton could affect bottom line

New London

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Groton is another community that will ban plastic bags, straws, polystyrene. Some local business owners say making the change to reusable plastic or paper could be costly.

Chester’s Barbecue in Groton, located right on Route 1, already started serving up its many to-go orders in paper bags in anticipation of the town’s proposed ordinance to ban one-time-use plastic bags and straws.

Several shoreline communities that support the ordinance say the plastic gets into waterways and threaten marine life.

Paper straws have become a common alternative to plastic, but Chester’s hasn’t made that change yet.

“They don’t last as long as the plastic,” said customer Irene Corea of Brookfield. “But if it’s better for the environment, I’ll get used to it or drink without it.”

In addition to plastic, Groton will ban polystyrene (Styrofoam), and the barbecue restaurant uses a lot of it, mainly because it doesn’t leak.

Chester’s chili dish is served in polystyrene cups and containers as well as its side dishes and take-out orders.

Making the change to a different packaging could be costly.

“We spend in the thousands of dollars now as far as the dry storage products,” explained Chester’s manager Dakota Shepherd. “It probably will double if it ends up getting changed.”

Shepherd wants to make sure any containers they use can handle their meals.

“The food is heavy,” said Shepherd.

“I think they’ll find a way to package it so it transports safely and not make a mess in everyone’s car,” said Corea.

Folks at Chester’s just hope they can find something effective and affordable if they have to.

The ban does include exceptions. It would allow polystyrene used for pre-packaged meats and seafood at supermarkets.

The Town Council had already approved the ordinance, but it needed final approval from Groton’s Representative Town Meeting.

Wednesday night, the RTM did not veto the ordinance, so the ban on plastic straws, bags, and Styrofoam packaging will go into effect July 7, 2020.

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