Connecticut Commits to State-Wide Plastic Bag Legislation

Effective August 1, 2019, retailers in Connecticut must charge a $0.10 fee for every single-use plastic bag provided to consumers. The bag charge is followed in 2 years by a prohibition, starting June 30, 2021, on retailers providing single use plastic bags. This new requirement was included in the 580-page budget that was passed Monday July 1, 2019 by the Connecticut General Assembly, making Connecticut the fifth state to enact statewide legislation regarding plastic bags. The bag requirements, in Section 355 of House Bill No. 7424 Public Act No. 19-117 can be found starting on page 532.

Under the legislation, a "single-use checkout bag" is defined as a plastic bag with a thickness of less than four mils that is provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale. It does not include: (A) A bag provided to contain meat, seafood, loose produce or other unwrapped food items; (B) a newspaper bag; or (C) a laundry or dry-cleaning bag.

The legislation does not prevent municipalities from enacting or enforcing local single-use plastic bag related ordinances, as long as the local ordinance is at least as stringent as the state requirements. Municipalities are also free to enact ordinances related to checkout bags made of paper.

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Kevin Gibney, Coordinator, Environmental Programs and Retail Compliance Center

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