Fairfield RTM bans plastic bags
FAIRFIELD — The fourth time was the charm.
At their Tuesday meeting, the Fairfield Representative Town Meeting, in a unanimous and bipartisan vote, passed an ordinance that effectively bans single-use plastic bags in town.
The ordinance — which RTM members applauded after its passing — is to go into effect Feb. 1 of next year in order to let retail establishments accommodate to the new regulations.
Heather Dean, who originally introduced the ordinance 10 years ago did not hide her elation.
“It became clear during the the last RTM committee meeting that this had strong bipartisan support and would pass, especially in light of the positive survey results from Fairfield neighbors and merchants,” Dean said.
According to the ordinance, the Health Department would be in charge of enforcement.
A first violation would result in a written warning followed by a $150 fee for a second violation and subsequent ones at $250.
RTM member amended the ordinance, adding that no fee shall be imposed for a second violation if it has “occurred on or prior to the date that is 30 calendar days following receipt by the retail establishment of a written warning notice of its initial violation.”
“Further, if multiple violations by a aretial establishment occur within a 24-hour period, no more than one monetary penalty shall be imposed for such violations,” the amendment, which passed, reads.
Sands Cleary, Health Department director, said that by next February, the department would receive and respond to complaints of establishment that are not in compliance.
First Selectman Mike Tetreau said the ordinance was an example of the town “taking a leadership position on something that is good for the environment.”
The town’s legislative body first considered a plastic bag ban a decade ago, an effort that back then did not make it past the administration committee.
“I’m gratified by the many who came forward to hep since first considered in 2009,” Dean said. “For now I’m enjoying the victory for Fairfield and the environment -- perseverance pays off.”
Though no members of the public spoke at the May 28 meeting, several had expressed their support at previous meetings.
“Plastic bags live quite a while, almost forever. It’s wonderful to see that Fairfield is taking the steps toward eliminating them,” resident David McKinnis said at an April 29 meeting.
Fairfield joins a growing number of towns and cities that are considering and implementing policies banning the use of plastic bags.
Westport was the first town east of the Mississippi to ban single-use plastic bags almost a decade ago.
In the recent months, towns and cities like Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan and Hamden.
These efforts come at a time when the state is also mulling over similar plastic bag bans that, if passed, would be statewide, municipalities could also pass more stringent regulations at the local level.