[HISTORY: Adopted by the Legislative Council of the Town of Newtown 6-5-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance shall be effective 6-28-2019.
The purpose of this chapter is to improve the environment in Newtown and the health, safety, and welfare of its residents by reducing the use of plastic bags and paper bags for checkout and purchased goods and encouraging the use of reusable carryout bags.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- BUSINESS POINT OF CONTACT
- The local business proprietor, manager, business owner, or owner's agent. This person shall be responsible for the retail sales establishment's compliance to this chapter.
- CHECKOUT BAG
- A carryout bag that is provided to a customer at the point of sale and used for the purpose of transporting products purchased from or provided by a retail sales establishment.
- BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT
- Any person, business or nonprofit entity that sells or provides merchandise, goods or materials, including, without limitation, clothing, food, or personal items of any kind, directly to a consumer, and includes, by way of example and not limitation, any grocery store, grocery delivery service, department store, hardware store, pharmacy, liquor store, restaurant, catering truck, convenience store, hospital, library, school, including temporary vendors at farmers markets, street fairs and school or Town-sponsored events and facilities; provided, however, "business establishment" shall not apply to yard sales, tag sales and other sales by residents at their homes.
- PRODUCT BAG
- A single-use plastic or paper noncheckout bag (see exemptions below).
- RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG
- A paper bag that should have the following characteristics:
- REUSABLE CHECKOUT BAG
- A bag that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and is made of cloth or other fabric, or plastic that is a minimum thickness of 12 mil. Plastic reusable bags may not contain lead, cadmium, or any other toxic material that may pose a threat to public health.
No business establishment shall provide or sell a plastic checkout bag to a consumer in the Town of Newtown.
No business establishment shall provide or sell a plastic checkout bag at any Town facility, Town-managed concession, Town-sponsored or Town-permitted event unless otherwise permitted by the Newtown department or designee charged with enforcement of this chapter.
Any business establishment engaged in retail sale is permitted to provide to customers:
The charge for each paper bag sold in quantity and per bag rate shall be indicated on the customer's itemized receipt. If receipts are not routinely provided, notice of the charge shall be posted and visible from every point of sale.
Nothing in this section shall preclude any establishment from making reusable checkout bags available for sale to customers or utilizing recyclable paper bags as defined previously in Subsection A above.
Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit consumers from using bags or containers, of any type, at the point of checkout that they have brought to a business establishment for the purpose of carrying away goods.
Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit consumers from using or business establishments from making available bags as listed below:
Newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry dry-cleaning bags.
Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste bags, yard waste bags.
Bags without handles that are used by consumers inside stores to package bulk items, such as fasteners, nuts and bolts; produce, nuts, grains, candy, meat, or fish, whether packaged or not; and unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods.
Bags used to carry flowers, potted plants or other items where dampness may be a problem.
Bags used to carry pharmacy prescriptions; or items that required bags to safeguard public health during the transportation of hospital waste.
Any other bags that the enforcement officer deems to not fit the definition or intent of a "carryout bag."
Restaurants and establishments offering freshly prepared foods are exempted from the requirement to charge for paper bags.
Gift stores/boutiques shall charge a minimum ten-cent user fee per gift bag, which do not have to meet the recyclability or other requirement of paper bags. Plastic gift bags shall not be permitted.
Business establishments making available nonrecyclable paper bags or bags that do not meet the recyclability content requirements set forth in this chapter (for example, paper bags bearing a logo) may charge a minimum of $0.15 per bag.
This chapter shall become operative four months following its effective date to allow business establishments to dispose of their existing inventory of noncompliant checkout bags and convert to alternative packaging materials.
This chapter shall be implemented, administered and enforced by the Town of Newtown and any Town department or Town body designated by the First Selectman.
Upon being made aware of a potential violation of this chapter, the applicable Newtown Town department or designated enforcement authority, as the case may be, ("Enforcement Authority") shall investigate as to whether a violation of this chapter has occurred.
If the investigation confirms that a violation has occurred, then the Enforcement Authority shall give written notice, by in-hand service or certified mail, to the violator or his or its designee, to cease and desist the offending activity within 14 days of receipt of the notice.
Upon receipt of the notice of violation, the business establishment or its representative shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Enforcement Authority or its representative that the offending activity has ceased within the fourteen-day period . Failure to correct said violation within the said fourteen-day period shall result in a penalty of $100. Each day that the violation continues subsequent to the aforesaid fourteen (14) day period shall constitute a separate violation (in the amount of $100 per day) until said violation shall cease as verified by the Enforcement Authority or its representative.
In the event that compliance with the effective date of this chapter is not feasible for a business establishment because of either unavailability of alternative checkout bags or economic hardship, the First Selectman may grant a waiver of not more than six months upon application of the business point of contact. The waiver may be extended for one additional six-month period upon showing of continued infeasibility as set forth above.