Plastic bags, straws, bottles, and other waste present a significant threat to the ecosystems in the Long Island Sound and across Connecticut. Turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, and when they ingest them, the bags can lodge in their stomachs. Plastic can also cause intestinal blockages in whales and dolphins.
The United Nations has estimated that more than 8 million tons of plasticwind up in our oceans each year. Connecticut uses more than 400 million plastic bags each year. Many of these end up in the Connecticut River and eventually in our oceans.
In Connecticut, Greenwich and Westport have banned single-use plastic bags to help turn the tide against this wave of pollution. Towns including Guilford, Mansfield, Norwich, Stamford, and Waterford are also considering similar legislation, and the town of Stonington is considering bans on both bags and straws.
Nationally, some large retailers and restaurant companies have recently announced initiatives to curb plastic consumption. Starbucks and McDonalds have both announced they will be phasing out plastic straws, while Krogers has announced it will stop providing single-use plastic bags.
At the state level, plastic bag bans and fees have been proposed in the Connecticut General Assembly, but none have made it to the Governor's desk. Some lawmakers have also proposed fixes to strengthen our recycling program, also known as the "Bottle Bill." The last attempt to modernize our recycling program died in the House in 2018.
A PLASTIC PROBLEM
Plastic waste has invaded landfills, waterways, Long Island Sound, and critical ecosystems across Connecticut.