Wilton shoppers embrace new plastic bag law

Most shoppers in Wilton had no issues last week when a new law went into effect imposing a 10-cent fee for single-use plastic bags.

Customers were seen routinely walking into Village Market, Caraluzzi’s and Stop & Shop, carrying reusable bags.

“I’ve been using my own bags for years,” said Alison Lindner of Georgetown at Caraluzzi’s. “I’m happy for the ban, it’s about time,” she said.

The 10-cent fee is the first step toward a complete statewide plastic bag ban, which will start July 1, 2021. At that time, no retail or grocery store will be permitted to distribute single-use plastic bags at checkout. The ban’s goal is to cut down on litter and environmental pollution created by nonbiodegradable plastic bags.

Joyce Weiser, a senior living at Meadow Ridge Senior Living Community, said she was in the habit of bringing her own reusable bags to the supermarket, but sometimes forgot. “I will always remember now,” she said.

Caraluzzi’s is no longer offering plastic bags at checkout. At this point, the store is still offering paper bags for free. It has several styles of reusable bags for sale, including one for 99 cents, commemorating the store’s 70th anniversary. The market also have a green insulated bag that folds up into an envelope-sized pouch, for $2.50.

It was the same scenario at Village Market. Most shoppers were walking in carrying reusable bags. “I’m all for it,” said Kathy Essig who was shopping with her daughter Sophie. “I try to bring bags with me,” she said.

The market has paper bags for free if customers need them, but it has an additional incentive to keep customers from switching from plastic to paper. Village Market pays customers five cents for every bag they bring in on their own, a custom it’s been following for 20 years.

At Stop & Shop, customer Cindy Sinor, like others, said she, too, has been bringing reusable bags with her all along, so the plastic bag ban was no issue for her.

Stop & Shop is no longer offering plastic bags at checkout, and for now, paper bags are free. But the store will impose a 10-cent fee on paper bags starting Sept. 1.

Leaving Stop & Shop with a full cart, Silvana Lusignan said she has been bringing her own bags on and off for some time, but now she will bring them all the time.

Two dark blue bags in her cart were stamped with the logo “Wise Wilton.”

Those bags, she said, were created by Cole Stephenson, a Wilton teen, who formed the group Wise Wilton, and is selling the bags for $5 each. Proceeds from sales of the bags are going to the benefit of four Wilton nonprofit groups — Ambler Farm, Animals in Distress, Wilton Food Pantry, and WARF (Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation).

“I really like these bags,” Lusignan said. “They’re heavy-duty and are lined with plastic on the bottom. I also think it’s great that a teen created Wise Wilton in order to support these groups,” she said.