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Wilton Stores Hear Talk of Plastic Bag Ban, Again

WILTON, Conn. – Talk about banning plastic bags has begun again among Wilton government officials, and reactions from merchants are mixed.

Wilton Energy Commission Chair Bruce Hampson said at a recent meeting that it might not be a bad idea to revisit the idea, which was first brought up in 2010.

The Board of Selectmen invested $2,500 in January 2011 in a reusable bag program to educate Wilton residents on single use plastic and paper bags, Hampson said. “We would be remiss just leaving it an open item.”­

For some stores, it was simply easier to make the switch when the talk first started.

“We heard rumblings and then Westport went,” said Leslie Hueglin, a manager at Open House Gift Shop on Center Street.  “We were just, 'Let’s cut to the chase before we’re told to do it.' "

Chou Chou on River Road has never really used plastic. “We had pink plastic bags for a while,” owner Katharine Sanford said, before the shop permanently switched to  paper bags.

“It would be way more cost effective to use plastic bags,” which are about one-quarter the price of the store's specially labeled paper bags, Sanford said. She said it costs her around $1 for one paper bag, where it would cost around $.25 for a plastic bag without the store label.

Not having plastic bags isn’t something the Village Market is interested in. General Manager Nancy Dolmier understands the reasons for a ban, but addes that “we don’t use raw plastic.” The bags used at the market are made from “100 percent post-industrial recycled resin” according to the writing on them.

“Environmentally, paper is not that much better,” Dolmier said. Paper takes up more space in storage, she says. Where you could get 1,000 plastic bags in approximately one cubic foot, 500 paper bags take up around three times more space.

The Village Market does offer a $.05 payback for people who use their own bags, and if the store is not too busy, cashiers will let customers go back to their car to get their own bags, Dolmier says.

Do you think Wilton should ban plastic bags? Send you comments to  reporter Alissa Smith at asmith@thedailywilton.com or leave a comment below.

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