NEW BRITAIN ‚Äď The Common Council‚Äôs Committee on Administration, Finance and Law unanimously forwarded a single-use plastic bag ban resolution Wednesday back to the full council following a show of support for the proposal.
The resolution, first brought to the Common Council Jan. 23, would phase out single-use plastic bags in the city. The resulting ordinance would prohibit retailers from selling, providing or distributing non-reusable plastic bags in their stores. It would also bar retailers from offering paper bags unless they are recycled or recyclable. If a retailer wants to provide permissible paper bags, the bags would cost customers 10 cents each.
The resolution would be effective six months after its adoption to give retailers a chance to dispose of their current single-use plastic bags and convert to alternative materials.
There are a few penalties listed for retailers that don‚Äôt abide by the potential new ordinance. On the first violation, a written warning notice will be issued to the business with no penalty. For the second violation, retailers will be fined $99, then $250 for each subsequent violation. No more than one penalty will be imposed upon any retailer in one 24-hour period.
Alderman Carlo Carlozzi, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said much of the litter in New Britain is single-use plastic bags. He encouraged the city to join other municipalities in the state and country in banning the bags.
‚ÄúThese things live on forever and ever,‚ÄĚ Carlozzi said of the lifespan of single-use plastic bags. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs high-time we do something.‚ÄĚ
Alderman Daniel Salerno asked that he be added as a cosponsor of the item and said the resolution is a long time coming.
‚ÄúIt probably could have been done ten years ago,‚ÄĚ Salerno said.
Alderman Kristian Rosado, who researched the history of single-use plastic bags before Wednesday‚Äôs meeting, was also supportive of the resolution. He said many of these plastic bags never make it to recycling facilities, even if some of them are recyclable.
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs time that New Britain moves in this direction ‚Äď it‚Äôs a good statement,‚ÄĚ Rosado said.
Prior to Wednesday‚Äôs meeting, several residents spoke about the resolution. Ann Speyer said single-use plastic bags are an environmental concern and pose a dangerous threat to marine life.
‚ÄúIf you burn them you add them, they add to the carbon footprint; if you landfill them, that little plastic bag from Stop & Shop can last 1,000 years,‚ÄĚ Speyer said. ‚ÄúA sea turtle sees a plastic bag and he thinks ‚Äėyum, jellyfish‚Äô no, it‚Äôs not a jellyfish, it‚Äôs something that would absolutely kill a sea turtle.‚ÄĚ
The full council will vote on the plastic bag ordinance during its next meeting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Council Chambers, City Hall, 27 West Main St.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.