New plastic bag law forces area shoppers, stores to adapt

New plastic bag law forces area shoppers, stores to adapt

reporter photo

 WALLINGFORD — A month into the new plastic bag law, area shoppers appear to have adapted to the change fairly quickly.

The law requires stores to charge 10 cents for every single-use plastic bag, which will be completely banned by June 2021. The law applies to most retailers, pharmacies, restaurants and supermarkets. Grocery stores, like Stop and Shop and Big Y, have opted to eliminate single-use plastic bags at checkout completely, while encouraging shoppers to purchase paper or reusable bags instead.

Jim Polites, communications director for the state Department of Revenue Services,  said Friday the department does not yet have data collected on plastic bag fees.

“It’s a part of a store’s sales tax return, reported later to the state,” he said in an email.

But the department has been impressed with the business community’s engagement.

“These stakeholders have played a particularly constructive role in bringing questions to DRS on various facets of implementation of the plastic bag fee, which have informed agency guidance to taxpayers,” Polites said.

DRS Commissioner Scott Jackson was not available for comment.

Jim Martin, a spokesperson for Big Y, said customers have adjusted to the change relatively well and are opting for reusable bags.

“The change is pretty seamless now,” Martin said. “A few forget their reusable bag and buy paper bags but we’re seeing less and less of them.”

Meriden resident Norma Barillaro said she made the transition without much difficulty.

“It really hasn’t affected my shopping much except when I forget to bring my bags,” Barillaro said. “Now I leave them in the car.”

Marie Krantz, who visited the Big Y Thursday with her family, said while she understands that the change will be good for the environment, it can present challenges.

“If you have kids it gets hard because you have to get your kids ready and then remember your bags,” Krantz said.

Martin said Big Y realizes that “paper is not the answer either” when it comes to reducing the impact on the environment and is encouraging the purchase of reusable bags. Customers can choose from a variety of reusable bag options such as standard and insulated, themed bags, sports designs and advocacy bags.

“We’ve sold about a year's worth of reusable bags in about a month,” Martin said.
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