Town im­ple­ments ban on sin­gle-use plas­tic bags

The News-Times - - NEWS - By Deborah Rose

WASH­ING­TON — Pa­trons of Wash­ing­ton busi­nesses will soon no longer have the op­tion bring­ing their goods home in a plas­tic bag.

The town of Wash­ing­ton has ap­proved an or­di­nance ban­ning the use of sin­gleuse plas­tic bags by all busi­nesses.

The ban was ap­proved by unan­i­mous vote at a spe­cial town meet­ing held just days be­fore Earth Day.

“It’s a ges­ture, a good ges­ture,” said First Select­man Mark Lyon. “It’s a step in the right di­rec­tion.”

Diane Decker, co-pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton En­vi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil, said the coun­cil is “thrilled” the or­di­nance passed.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the big­gest things we’ve done since say­ing ‘no’ to frack­ing,” Decker said. “This is huge.”

Busi­nesses will be al­lowed to use up their in­ven­tory of bags, but bags will then be phased out, with all bags ex­pected to be gone within a few months.

The Board of Se­lect­men worked with the town’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Com­mit­tee — an ap­pointed sub­com­mit­tee of the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion — the Wash­ing­ton En­vi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil and the Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion to craft the or­di­nance.

Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives vis­ited the ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses in town to ex­plain the plan and of­fer al­ter­na­tive sug­ges­tions to those that asked.

Some busi­ness owners cited cus­tomers who use plas­tic bags for a va­ri­ety of home uses, in­clud­ing lin­ing small garbage cans.

Lisa Stein, man­ager at Wash­ing­ton Food Mar­ket and pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness Al­liance, said there are al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing biodegrad­able bags avail­able to pur­chase at the store.

“We’ve been sup­port­ive of (this or­di­nance) since the be­gin­ning,” Stein said.

The store of­fers cus­tomers the op­por­tu­nity to bring their own bags or buy re­us­able bags at the store.

In ad­di­tion, the store is ex­plor­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a bag pro­gram — sim­i­lar to a free li­brary — that would wel­come do­na­tions of re­us­able bags for cus­tomers to use.

“It’s worth giv­ing it a shot,” Stein said.

A busi­ness found to be not in com­pli­ance with the or­di­nance will work with the first select­man and Sus­tain­abil­ity Com­mit­tee on a plan to meet the or­di­nance.

A busi­ness will be fined $150 for a se­cond vi­o­la­tion and $250 for each sub­se­quent vi­o­la­tion.

The ban is one of a num­ber of on­go­ing ef­forts to cre­ate a sus­tain­able com­mu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.