The Senate voted 29-2 Wednesday to advance a bill that requires a 50-percent reduction by 2021 in the distribution of paper and plastic single-use carryout bags from the grocery and retail industries.
Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., co-chairman of the Environment Committee where the amended bill was crafted, called it an “historic agreement with grocery stores to voluntarily reduce by 33 percent single use bags” in the state of Connecticut.
The amended bill requires a phased-in transition to 100 percent recyclable, single-use carryout bags that contain not less than 80 percent post-consumer recycled materials, and to require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the grocery and retail industries that provides for a 50-percent reduction in the distribution of paper bags and plastic single-use carryout bags by 2021.
Republican Sens. Rob Kane, of Watertown, and Joe Markley, of Southington, voted against the measure.
This year’s bill is significantly different from other legislation that failed in 2009, 2011, and 2015, which called for 5- to 10-cent fees on customers for each plastic bag they are given at a store. In 2015, the bill called for plastic bags to be phased out completely and by October 2019 stores would have only been able to sell reusable bags.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did not support an elimination of plastic bags and suggested that dog owners use them to clean up after their pets. It’s not clear where Malloy stands on this year’s version of the bill.