- Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. has introduced two legislative measures in Connecticut:
- A packaging bill requiring an amendment to the state’s solid waste plan by mid-2017 that calls for cutting packaging waste in half by 2024 and possibly mandating an industry-financed stewardship program.
- A bag bill that would require single-use retail bags to be recyclable, comprised of 80% recycled material by 2020. Stores would be asked to sell low-cost recyclable bags, and food retailers would be called on to enter an agreement whereby they would work to divert plastic bags from trash receptacles.
- Two industry organizations, The Connecticut Food Association and the American Progressive Bag Alliance, are open to considering legislative reform, as stated in the Hartford Courant. The new bill components vary considerably from Kennedy’s earlier proposal for a plastic bag ban, which did not end up coming up for vote.
- Both bills are scheduled for a public hearing Friday, along with other environment bills like a battery recycling bill. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is gathering public comments through April 22.
Consumer packaging makes up most of the solid waste stream at a quarter to one-third of municipal trash by weight.
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s DEEP is working to push Connecticut toward its fast-approaching goal of doubling its recycling rate to 60% by 2024, and even the packaging and food industries realize this will call for packaging reform.
The Connecticut Food Association, which represents retailers, is "willing and able and ready" to talk about a store-led program to reduce plastic bag use, said President Wayne Pesce, as reported in the Hartford Courant. "We don't want to go kicking and screaming, we want to lead."
"I think he's got something good going on there. We'd like to learn more about it," said American Progressive Bag Alliance Policy Chairman Phil Rozenski to the Hartford Courant, though he says cost is an issue.
DEEP has not publicly taken a stance either way on the packaging bill. But Lee Sawyer, DEEP project manager in solid waste, said, "We agree with the goals of the bill and we are energized that the committee is focusing on this. We've highlighted consumer packaging as a main focus of our strategy."