Hamden residents welcome plastic bag ban

By Michaela Mendygral

Photo via Michaela Mendygral

Photo via Michaela Mendygral

Shoppers leaving ShopRite on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden on one recent Saturday afternoon generally supported Hamden’s new single-use plastic bag ban, saying the reduction in litter and damage to the environment outweighed any inconvenience or expense the new law may impose.

“(Plastic bags) blow all over the place, people throw them around and it is a litter nuisance for sure,” Hamden resident, Jerry Gogliotto said.

In a meeting Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, Hamden’s town legislative council passed an ordinance with two abstentions, introduced in January and to be in effect come fall, banning single use plastic bags at checkout.

The new ordinance “will allow paper checkout bags, but only those that are 100 percent recyclable and are made from at least 40 percent recycled material,” according to the New Haven Independent.

Jerry Gigliotto and his wife Barbaraare just two of several shoppers to leave ShopRite with recyclable bags in hand.

The Gigliottos said that reusable bags have been easily acquired over the years. They are usually a dollar to purchase, but many are often given out for free.

The Gigliottos found out about the plastic bag ban from the news. However, not everyone using recyclable bags is even aware of the ordinance passed by Hamden.

New Haven resident Lydia Santiago uses recycled bags because it makes sense.

“I keep them in the car in a bag and I take the whole thing into the store,” Santiago said.

Santiago was unaware of the new ordinance Hamden recently passed, but welcomes it openly.

“[The plastic bag ban] is so cool,” Santiago said. “I went to Washington [D.C] a few years ago and they have no plastic bags. In Washington D.C. they would ask you if you would want a plastic bag and you would have to pay for it.”

Several shoppers expressed concern over the lightweight plastic bags.

North Haven resident Ellen Perrotti saidd, “I don’t want plastic bags anymore, I never did want them. I was mad when they took paper away and they don’t offer it anymore.”

One Quinnipiac student agrees. “Paper bags are more recyclable and wouldn’t be as much of a harm if it gets into the ocean,” said Destiny De Jesus, 21..

However, the change expected to take place come fall may be an adjustment period for some.

“I think it’ll be a little inconvenient for people that aren’t prepared for it, but I do think it’s a good thing in the long run,” Barbara Gigliotto said.

The ban came as a surprise for 68-year-old Hamden resident, Jack Allen.

“To tell you the truth I use plastic bags for everything,” said Allen. For him, reusing plastic bags within the home has become routine and the plastic bag ban means purchasing more reusable bags.

Mayor Curt Leng asked Hamden residents their thoughts on the ban back in January, posting on Facebook a call for opinions on both a plastic bag and straw ban.

Residents are quick to weigh in on the topic, with the majority in favor of the new ordinance. The post is currently at a total of 455 comments.