Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hornish proposes 5 cent fee on plastic shopping bags

HARTFORD — State Representative Maryanne "Annie" Hornish (D-Granby), who represents the towns of Barkhamsted, East Granby, Granby and New Hartford in the Connecticut General Assembly, is sponsoring legislation that would impose a five cent fee on plastic shopping bags provided by retail stores.
Hornish, a member of the Legislature’s Environment Committee, believes the fee would help reduce non-biodegradable plastic waste in landfills by encouraging consumers to use reusable bags when shopping.
"In addition to the important environmental benefits, fees collected could also help with the budget problems facing the state and municipalities," said Hornish, who also serves on the Commerce and Education Committees. "Our landfills can’t continue to handle non-biodegradable waste such as plastic. We all have to change our habits and a small fee can work as an incentive."
Hornish’s proposal (HB5215) is now under consideration by the Environment Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues such as conservation, pollution control, state parks and forests, water resources and agriculture.
"Plastic products are made from a petroleum base, so this is also good from an energy perspective by reducing the use of oil," she said.
Plastic bag use is on the rise—in 1982, only 5 percent of shoppers used plastic bags compared to about 80 percent today. Some major cities like San Francisco and Oakland have banned the use of plastic grocery bags. Grocer Whole Foods stopped using plastic bags this past April.
Massachusetts, California and Michigan are among other states considering plastic bag fees.


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