Stonington considering a ban on plastic bags, straws

STONINGTON --  At Wednesday night's board of selectmen meeting, Stonington leaders established a committee to investigate possibly banning plastic bags and straws in town.

The committee will have 90 days to explore the issue before reporting back to First Selectman Rob Simmons.

Simmons said the town is very concerned about plastic bags, which can often find their way into the water.

"Three of our four borders are water, so we have a responsibility to make sure the bags and packages that we're using are biodegradable and don't harm the wildlife," said Simmons.

Stonington resident Stuart Schwartzstein had proposed the idea to the town.

"This is a coastal community," said Schwartzstein. "And all along the coast, I think we should have waters that are good for marine life."

Tom Rezendes, the owner of Tom's News in Stonington, estimates he goes through between 500-600 plastic bags per month. He fully supports a ban.

"I think the time is right," said Rezendes. "I think it's time to protect the environment and the animals."

Rezendes' customer, George Avery, agrees.

"In Maryland, where I sometimes am, they charge a nickel a bag, and people don't pay it," said Avery. "They use paper or they bring their own bags."

The tides are turning so quickly away from plastic, that the owner of Social Coffee Roastery in Stonington has been trying to buy paper straws for two months.

"I've been trying to order them, and they can't make them fast enough," said Tom Piacenza. "They just can't get them, the suppliers can't get them themselves."