The Norwalk Hour
City bans plastic stirrers, sets limits on straws
Council votes unanimously to pass ban; takes effect in April
NORWALK — Plastic stirrers will be officially banned in the city beginning next April, with limits on plastic straws also going into effect at that time.
The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass the ban, after the Ordinance Committee restructured the code to limit plastic straws instead of a full ban.
Councilman Douglas Hempstead, the only Republican on the council, said he supported the updated version because it allows those who are disabled or elderly the access to straws they need. He said this is a “drop in the bucket” in terms of affecting change on the environment, but it is a step in the right direction
“Part of this is banning of something but also trying to create habits that certainly need to be changed,” he said. “We are humans that are affecting the climate and that’s with an ‘R’ next to my name.”
Hempstead said people need to examine their habits, such as using plastic water bottles, and see if there is a more reusable alternative.
Members of the public also voiced their support for the ordinance.
Olivia LaRiccia, a 12yearold Norwalk resident, said she participated in a beach cleanup last weekend and the volunteers collected two buckets full of straws. She said taking small steps to reduce the number of straws and stirrers
would benefit the community.
“We only use these stirrers for about 10 seconds and then we throw them away,” she said. “(We’re) one step closer to a more sustainable future for generations to come.”
Rachel Precious, a Norwalk resident and vice president of the Surfrider Foundation, which aims to protect and restore Connecticut’s waterways, wetlands, watersheds and beaches, said she appreciated the council’s efforts to reduce plastic waste.
“As an ocean farmer, I see firsthand the impact of plastic pollution everyday,” she said. “Straws and stirrers are the next step. It’s inspiring to have a local government on board... your efforts make Norwalk stand out as a forwardthinking city.”
Anna Keegan, the acting director of the Norwalk Human Relations and Fair Rent Department, thanked the committee for allowing plastic straws to be available upon request without making people identify themselves as having a disability.
“The Ordinance Committee has worked with these concerns and taken them into thoughtful consideration,” she said.
The ordinance specifically states that establishments cannot “sell, provide, or distribute a singleuse plastic straw unless requested by the consumer.” There are no exceptions to the ban on plastic stirrers.
The ordinance will officially go into effect on the same date as the ban on polystyrene products on Earth Day, April 22, 2020. The city previously banned single use plastic bags.