Connecticut shoppers enter a new era on Thursday when retailers must begin collecting a 10-cent fee on most plastic bags used to carry products.
The fee was proposed by Gov. Ned Lamont to discourage use of the environmentally damaging bags used for years in supermarkets, department stores and many other types of retail outlets.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States each year. When not disposed of properly, they can end up in waterways and in forests, posing a threat to wildlife. An estimated 700 million plastic bags are used by Connecticut consumers each year.
“Everyone should go to a landfill and see what it looks like and you will see the impact” of these plastic bags, said state Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Scott Jackson. “It has changed our lives. It really is shocking.”
Although few will dispute the need to reduce plastic use, state officials and retailers are bracing for some initial confusion as the new law takes effect because of the way it was crafted — and the responses it has generated from the marketplace.