Choose to Reuse requests town ordinance banning plastic bags
Choose to Reuse Monday night requested the Board of Selectmen impose an ordinance to ban plastic bags because a voluntary ban wouldn't be enough.
After completing a survey of local businesses, Choose to Reuse found that of the 50 merchants who use plastic bags, 14 would observe a voluntary ban.
The idea to investigate a voluntary ban was brought up after the group first discussed issuing a plastic bag ban in April. At the time, First Selectman David Campbell and Republican Selectman Jerry Nielsen suggested it would be worthwhile to explore the voluntary ban route.
Ring's End Lumber and Nielsen's have committed to a voluntary plastic bag ban.
The study conducted by Choose to Reuse found CVS and Stop and Shop contribute to about 50 percent of the total bags used in town. Choose to Reuse member Nina Miller explained the issue with some of the larger chain stores is the restrictions placed on them by their owners.
"Of the larger stores like Stop & Shop, CVS and Trader Joe's, the managers are unable to make the commitment without corporate approval," Miller said. "Their corporate policy is to give the customers all the choices that are available to offer."
As a result, Miller said those companies would be unable to participate in a voluntary ban but they would have to follow a town ordinance.
Stop & Shop uses about 3 million plastic bags per year and CVS uses about 120,000 plastic bags per year, according to the study.
Acting First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said Monday that she found it interesting the larger stores were unable to participate in the voluntary ban but could do so if the town passed an ordinance banning plastic bags. She suggested Choose to Reuse contact the corporate leaders and find out why their companies couldn't participate in a voluntary ban if the people in town supported the ban.
Democratic Selectman Callie Sullivan said if Darien becomes the second town in the state to institute a ban, more pressure can be put on cities like Stamford and Norwalk to enact similar bans. However, if Darien is unable to put a ban in place, it would impossible to ask other towns to do so as well.
Choose to Reuse asked for the board's support and said it would like to present a proposal to the Representative Town Meeting in September. Stevenson said the board would consider an ordinance after receiving more input from Town Counsel Wayne Fox.