Letter: League of Women Voters encourages residents to become informed on bag ordinance
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization committed to effective public policy and the active participation of citizens in decision-making at all levels of government.
Members of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will soon vote on a proposed ordinance, the “Management of Paper and Checkout Bags in Darien,” which encourages the use of reusable bags through the phase-out of plastic bags and — with some exemptions — a nominal charge for recycled paper bags, which would be retained by the retailer.
The League has been at the forefront of the environmental protection movement for decades, consistently supporting legislation to preserve our nation’s natural resources and protect public health. Specifically with regard to solid waste, the League supports policies that both reduce the generation of and promote the reuse and recycling of materials, with an emphasis on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” hierarchy.
A few facts:
- Plastic bags are no longer accepted for recycling in single stream. In Connecticut the vast majority are incinerated; others litter our landscapes and endanger wildlife.
- Paper bags are made from a renewable resource and are recyclable but their production and transport require up to four times the energy and water as plastic, with less reuse potential because they tear easily.
- Single stream recycling — once a net revenue source for municipalities — is rapidly becoming a significant cost due to the global volatility of the recycling market.
- Even small fees can have a large and persistent impact on consumer behavior as seen in Chicago, Suffolk County and in cities across the U.S. where fees implemented have curbed disposable bag use.
In addition, the practice of employing reusable bags can have a psychological impact that inspires consumers to be more mindful of reducing waste more generally - an outcome consistent with the League’s goal of ensuring the future availability of natural resources.
We encourage all residents to read the proposed ordinance and to reach out to RTM members in your district; both can be found at darienct.gov. More information, including recent news articles, is available at byodarien.org.