[HISTORY: Adopted by the Representative Town Meeting of the Town of Branford 6-12-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect and improve the environment of Branford, including its coastline and marine life, and the health, safety, and welfare of its residents by reducing the use of plastic and paper bags and encouraging the use of reusable carryout bags during the purchase of retail goods.
The following words terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section:
- CHECKOUT BAG
- A carryout bag that is provided to a customer.
- PLASTIC PRODUCT BAG
- A flexible container made of very thin plastic material that is used to transport produce and meats to the point of sale, or transport small unpackaged products (i.e. beads and small hardware items), or clothing from a dry cleaner, or other items selected by customers to the point of sale.
- Material that can be sorted, cleansed and reconstituted using available recycling collection programs for the purpose of using the altered form in the manufacture of a new product. Recycling does not include burning, incinerating, or otherwise thermally destroying solid waste.
- RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG
- A paper bag that should have the following characteristics:
- A. Contains no old growth fiber, as indicated by a stamp on the bag by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or another similar certification organization.
- B. Is 100% recyclable overall and contains a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content as indicated by a stamp on the bag and displays the word "recyclable" on the outside of the bag.
- RETAIL SALES
- The transfer to a customer of goods in exchange for payment occurring in entities engaged in retail sales, sidewalk sales, farmers' markets, flea markets, restaurants or other commercial or nonprofit establishments which provide perishable or nonperishable goods.
- REUSABLE CHECKOUT BAG
- A bag provided by the retail entity at the point of sale with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses. Bags shall meet the following requirements:
- A. Is made of natural fibers.
- B. Has a minimum volume capacity of 15 liters.
- C. Is machine washable.
- D. Shall be capable of carrying 22 pounds over a distance of 175 feet for a minimum of 125 uses.
- E. Shall not be made of plastic film.
- F. It shall be sewn.
- G. It shall have a minimum fabric weight of at least 80 grams per square meter.
- VIOLATION, FIRST
- Engagement in any of the prohibited actions of this chapter at any point or points within a one-week period by an entity engaged in retail sales.
- VIOLATION, SUBSEQUENT
- After an entity engaged in retail sales has been issued a citation for a first violation, further engagement in any of the prohibited actions of this chapter within a one-day period by the entity engaged in retail sales shall be considered a subsequent violation.
Any entity engaged in retail sales may only provide reusable checkout bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers, if any are provided. No entity engaged in retail sales shall provide plastic checkout bags to any customer.
No distribution of any type of plastic bags shall be permitted at any Town facility or any event held on Town property.
This restriction shall not preclude entities engaged in retail sales from providing plastic product bags to customers for items as defined above.
Entities engaged in retail sales may charge and retain a fee of $0.10 for each recyclable paper bag provided to a customer. This fee may increase by $0.05 every five years, not to exceed a maximum fee of $0.25.
The fee for recyclable paper bags shall not apply to customers making purchases using supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC), "food stamps," or seniors 65 years or older. These customers will receive recyclable paper bags free of charge.
This chapter shall become operative six months after enactment of this chapter.
A violation of this chapter will be subject first to an official warning.
A first violation of this chapter incurred after an official warning will be punishable by a civil fine of $150.
A reduced fine of $50 for the first violation can be paid in exchange for eight hours of community service to the Town of Branford to improve Branford's environment. The entity engaged in retail sales will coordinate this service through the Branford Conservation/Environmental Commission.
A subsequent violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a civil fine of $150.
The procedures to be followed by any designated enforcement officer for issuance of warnings, issuance of citations and any requested hearings for violations of this chapter shall follow the requirements of the Branford Town Code.