Plastic Bag Ban in Connecticut

Riley Knebes

On Wednesday, Oct. 28 the University of New Haven held a meeting discussing the ban of plastic bags in Connecticut.

Three guest speakers including a UNH senior, Jessica Zielinski, spoke about various plans and projects for solutions to the litter problem that plastic bags seem to create.

Zielinski is majoring in Sustainability Studies and led the launch of UNH’s Think Outside the Dumpster waste reduction program in 2013 and is also a part of the Green Team on campus. The purpose of the program was to bring awareness to campus about recycling and what students could do to ensure recycling gets carried out properly.

In 2014, the Green Team took enough action that resulted in the equivalence of removing 13 cars off the road for an entire year. The group was responsible for recycling 1700 lbs. of trash in 2014.

Liz Milwe, a member of the RTM in Westport, Connecticut, spoke about the idea of banning plastic bags in Connecticut.

Milwe was part of the ban on plastic bags in Westport that was passed over five years ago and wants to move to a larger scale.

“The point to be made,” Milwe said, “is for us to change our habits in some way.”

Milwe also plays a large role in the Bag art show, which looks at reusable bags from around the world. Reusable bags used in the show vary in materials such as laundry detergent boxes and rice bags.

Not everyone is on board for the ban of plastic bags, however. Apart from the obvious grocery stores in opposition, skeptics, such as Phil Rozenski, have assessed the gains and losses that a community would face if the ban were to be passed.

Rozenski is the Senior Director of Sustainability for NOVOLEX, North America’s leading sustainability packaging brand.

The goal of the plastic bag ban is to reduce litter, marine debris, and landfill rates, according to Rozenski.

Rozenski said that no city, state, or country in the U.S. has ever surveyed litter or marine debris and then drawn a conclusion that plastic bags are a significant factor.

Once studied, it was found that there was no reduced litter or marine debris in areas where plastic bags have been banned.

“You can ban a product, but you have to look at a whole system,” Rozenski said.