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.
In 2021, after years of failed bills, the CT General Assembly finally modernized CT's bottle bill, this expands the bill to cover many more containers including juices, ice teas, and energy drinks, increases access to bottle redemption locations, and includes the long overdue increase to 10 cents. Connecticut towns like Greenwich and Westport paved the way for this legislation by banning single use plastic bags early on to help turn the tides against this wave of pollution. CTLCV will continue to work to modernize recycling and reduce plastic pollution in our state.
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 Kroger's has announced it will stop providing single-use plastic bags.
In 2019, the CT General Assembly passed a bill to address our plastic bag pollution in CT. This put a 10 cent fee on plastic bags and bans single use plastic bags as of July 1st 2021. Connecticut was using more than 400 million plastic bags each year, many of which end up in the Connecticut River and eventually in our oceans.
Initiatives to eliminate single use plastic straws failed in 2019 and 2021. Plastic straws have been a scourge to wildlife, especially marine life, and we will continue to work with advocates to bring these bills up next session.
A PLASTIC PROBLEM
Plastic waste has invaded landfills, waterways, Long Island Sound, and critical ecosystems across Connecticut.