By SHERIDAN ROY
Last week’s implementation of the plastic bag fee in Connecticut changed the way retailers operate, and consumers shop, in the state. With such a big change, residents are still getting used to it, and probably will need some time to adjust.
Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, Aug. 1, were like night and day at local stores. Signs could be seen in many storefronts reminding shoppers to bring their handy reusable bags. Some stores are still offering plastic bags at checkout for the 10 cent fee, while others have opted to get rid of plastic entirely.
The local Chick-Fil-A, for example, was handing out as many plastic bags as they could on July 30, and by the next morning, had gotten rid of their supply of plastic bags entirely.
“We were trying to use them up while we could, and get rid of them,” said the manager. “We’re now not offering plastic at all.”
Some shoppers were well aware of the change that was coming and came prepared with bags from home, but for others, it came as a surprise. On Aug. 1, shoppers at the Big Y in Plainville browsed a selection of reusable totes for purchase. The cash registers that had lines of customers all morning were continuously replacing their stocks of reusable totes at the end of the conveyor belt.
The department of revenue services defines a single-use checkout bag 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. Bags that are not included in the new legislation include paper bags, reusable (four mils or thicker) plastic bags, thin plastic bags used to contain meat, seafood or loose produce, newspaper bags, or laundry or dry cleaning bags.
Each store must report all plastic bags fees it collects to the DRS with its sales tax return, and remit those fees at the same time. Starting July 1, 2021, plastic bags will be banned entirely in Connecticut.
To learn more about the plastic bag legislation in Connecticut, visit the DRS webpage at portal.ct.gov/DRS. Under “latest news,” click “Single-Use Plastic Bag Fee—Effective 8/1/19,” where the DRS has published an article explaining the details of the change.
At the bottom of the DRS article, there is a link to frequently asked questions regarding the change that residents may find helpful.
For additional questions, information, or complaints, send an email to the DRS legal division at email@example.com or call (860) 297-5962. Operators will be available during business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.