“Ban the bag” was a rallying cry to state lawmakers from many school kids that went to the State Capitol on Monday speaking in favor of banning plastic bags.
Lawmakers on the General Assembly’s Environment Committee must make a recommendation to the full General Assembly by the end of the month on the next move to remove plastic bags from the environment.
Proposals to ban plastic bags have been unsuccessful over the past six or seven years at the Capitol. Some shoreline towns have banned them in the name of preserving wildlife at Long Island Sound.
This year, the issue seems to have statewide traction.
8th grader Mackenzie Corkins of Falls Village told lawmakers on the Environment Committee on Monday, “If we really want to make America great again, we have to change back to the sustainable practices of our grandparents who used their own canvas bags or baskets to take home their groceries.”
State lawmakers listened intently as a number of eighth graders lectured them on the future they would like to see in Connecticut.
Beatrice Hayhurst is another 8th grader from Falls Village, and testified, “Cities like Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Westport and Greenwich, Connecticut, and the states of California and Hawaii, and 32 countries, have successfully banned plastic bags already. We need to join them.”
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One proposal before this committee would ban plastic bags as of January 1st and require stores to only give out 100% recyclable bags. Another proposal would impose a 5 cent tax all bags, plastic and paper. Governor Lamont has proposed a 10 cent a bag tax on plastic.
A group of seventh graders from West Hartford showed lawmakers they also had done serious homework on the issue, saying a tax won’t work and that plastic bags are already costing municipalities thousands.
Zoe Weissman stated, “If we do do the tax, which would reduce plastic bags, it would not get rid of them, so they still could be a threat.”
Evan Piccioli added, “Plastic bags are really detrimental to not only us, but they also clog recycling plants. They have to shut down for three hours, wasting time and money.”
The association that represents the grocery stores is in favor of phasing out plastic bags, but it wants to phase them out over a couple of years, and so, is opposing all the measures before the Environment
Waye Pesce of the Connecticut Food Association said, “Making this appear to be a tax is a mistake because then people get the wrong idea of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to eliminate plastic bags from the environment.”
The grocery stores have proposed their own phase in plastic bag ban that eases the costs to the stores and gives people a little more time to get used to the idea.
As one of the eighth graders said on Monday, “As Generation Z, we believe that any habit can be broken.”