The world’s plastic problem is so big - do my grocery bags really make a difference?

Yes!  Yes they do!  Plastic grocery bags contribute greatly to the demise of our environment.  Not only do the bags make their way into our rivers and streams, harming animals and polluting waterways, but they ultimately make it into ocean garbage patches.  Furthermore, they often damage recycling equipment, limiting communities’ abilities to efficiently recycle, and costing us dollars. In 2018, Australia eliminated plastic grocery bags in most of their provinces, and in so doing, reduced their plastic bag consumption by 80%.  And Australia is not along - more than 40 countries worldwide have laws prohibiting the use of single use plastic bags.

 

Aren’t paper grocery bags just as damaging as plastic ones?

While it’s true that paper grocery bags can be environmentally costly to produce, ultimately they are more environmentally friendly than plastic bags as they are often produced with post consumer recycled paper, and they themselves can be recycled again.  However, we encourage everyone to use REUSABLE bags instead of paper bags, as they are the best environmental choice (and seriously...they are so much easier to use!)

 

The grocery store plastic bags are green and have a recycling triangle on them...can’t I just recycle the plastic bags?

While the plastic bag producers work hard to make consumers think that these bags can be recycled, most recycling facilities can’t process the bags.  In fact, the bags often jam the machinery at recycling plants. If you do have a big stash of plastic bags hiding under your kitchen sink (don’t we all?) you can take them drop them into specific recycling bins in either Walter Stewarts or Acme, but again, they cannot be placed in your household recycling bin.

 

I never remember my reusable bags - where can I buy them?

Several local stores, including Walter Stewart’s and Acme, sell reusable bags.  We suggest leaving them in your car, so they are always handy when they pull into the grocery store parking lot.

 

Why New Canaan?  And why now?

New Canaan is one of several ara towns taking steps to eliminate damaging, one time use plastic bags.  Westport, Weston, Greenwich and Stamford have all base ordinances banning singles us plastic bags, while Darien, Norwalk, Fairfield and Newtown are similar ordinances pending.

 

Seriously?  I’m going to have to pay for a paper bag if I forget my reusable bag?

Seriously, yes!  But think about it...even though you don’t see it on the receipt, you’re already paying for your bags at the grocery store.  Stores build the cost of bags into their overhead costs (which they pass on to you), and additionally, your tax dollars are spent cleaning plastic bags off of New Canaan roads and parks, and clearing them from town drains and other infrastructure. In the long run, using reusable bags will save us all a lot of dollars.  Not to mention our environment. And don’t forget, on average reusable plastic bags are used over 100 times whereas single use plastic bags are used... well, once.

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