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Plastic Bag Ban Gains Support in Darien

Since Westport enacted its ban of plastic bags two years ago, it has saved more than 2.75 million plastic bags from ending up in landfills or as litter. Now Darien is looking to become the second town in Connecticut to end the use of plastic shopping bags.

Members of Choose to Reuse in Darien made a presentation Monday night before the Board of Selectmen on their plan to enact the ban. They brought along students from the high school, the head of the Darien Chamber of Commerce , doctors and some residents of Westport who helped enact its ban.

"We need the Board of Selectmen and the RTM to step in," said Nina Miller, one of the leaders of Choose to Reuse. The group has been working for more than two years to get people to stop using plastic bags but said only making it mandatory would force change. "It's win-win-win for the environment, corporations and the customers."

Carol Wilder-Tamme, president of the chamber, said it conducted a survey of businesses in town to see whether they would be receptive to banning plastic bags. "There was a general feeling of support," she said, adding that the main concern was having time to use up their stocks of plastic bags as well as give their customers time to know the ban would go into effect.

"They also suggested that the public education be done by one organization, possibly an outside group. They did not want to be part of the educational process," Wilder-Tamme added.

Members of the Westport RTM who got the ban enacted said the town has fully embraced it, and they have not had to enforce the penalty for violating it. They also said it has led companies such as Subway, which normally uses only plastic bags, to make special paper bags to be in compliance with the ban.

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