Trumbull residents prepare for shopping without plastic bags

Shoppers may want to remember to grab a reusable tote next time they hit the grocery store. Starting August 1, all Stop & Shop locations in Connecticut will cease to offer single-use plastic bags to customers.

And the plastic bag ban isn’t limited to Stop & Shop retailers. In compliance with a new law aimed at reducing plastic trash and aiding the environment, a 10-cent fee will be assessed on plastic bags across the state.

Stop & Shop, however, is abandoning such bags entirely, replacing them with paper ones. Starting in September, the 10-cent fee will apply to the paper bags, too - an effort to encourage patrons to make the switch to reusable ones.

Shoppers seem to have varying opinions on the demise of plastic bags. But the 12 individuals who spoke with the Trumbull Times did agree on one thing: The ban of these thin, disposable bags will generally benefit the environment.

Trumbull resident Andrew Smith, however, also acknowledged that the plastic bag ban won’t be solving the larger issues our environment is facing.

“I think it’s great. But it’s a small thing that’s easy to do,” Smith said. “Yes, we should get rid of the problem, but there are bigger problems that need to be addressed - like pollution.”

It also seems that the 10-cent per paper bag fee will work as an incentive to get customers to bring their own totes - either canvas or cloth. The majority of individuals interviewed said they won’t be paying for paper ones.

The growth of bacteria in reusable bags, however, is a worry for some shoppers. One Trumbull resident said that she’ll use the paper bags for her meat purchases. Another individual expressed concerns about an increase in food-borne illnesses.

Although all 12 customers recognized that the plastic bag ban will help the environment to a certain extent, some expressed opposition.

Two individuals said they strongly oppose the ban.

“By not recycling, a few people ruined it for everyone,” one customer said.

But for the younger generation - commonly believed to be more environmentall conscious - the reduction of plastic waste is a growing movement, and an important one.

Two individuals - both under 20 years old - seemed to think the ban won’t be much of an inconvenience. And it will benefit the environment, they said. From disposable bags resting atop storm drains to litter strewn on the side of the road, the proliferation of plastic and its impact on our environment is a concern.

Of course, some have mixed feelings about the phasing-out of plastic bags. Five customers said they are supportive of the plan to reduce plastic waste but feel it’s an inconvenience.

For some, the value of single-use shopping bags go beyond the grocery cart. One customer noted that she’ll no longer be able to use them as garbage bags - the ideal size for tiny trash cans.

Trumbull resident Barbara Bruderman said people would learn to adjust.

“At first maybe [the ban will be an inconvenience], but I think we’ll get used to it after a while,” she said.

So shoppers heading to the store to stock up on milk, eggs, and fresh produce, should remember their reusable bags.