COVID-19: Plastic Bag Fee Returns In Connecticut

After being suspended for more than three months, the plastic bag fee at retailers in Connecticut is back as the state recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The plastic bag fee has returned in Connecticut.
The plastic bag fee has returned in Connecticut.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed an Executive Order on Thursday, March 26 suspending the $0.10 fee for each single-use plastic bag in an attempt to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

That Executive Order expired on June 30, and as of Wednesday, July 1, retailers providing customers with plastic bags will once again be collecting the fee, which goes to the state’s Department of Revenue Services.

If a store charges a customer a fee for a plastic bag, the charge for the bag is subject to sales tax. Similarly, if a store charges a customer for a paper bag or a reusable bag, the charge for the paper bag or a reusable bag is also subject to sales tax.

Shoppers are still being encouraged by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to continue using reusable bags rather than single-use plastic bags.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, single-use plastic bags are one of the top five single-use plastics found in the environment by magnitude, and they are one of the top five items encountered in coastline clean-ups.

Between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Less than 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled in the United States and they are not acceptable at certain recycling centers.

The EPA estimates that 80 percent of plastic pollution in the ocean originated on land, which includes plastic bags, and in the metro-New York, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually, which contributes to pollution both on and off land. These bags do not biodegrade and they persist for years.

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