Editorial: Mansfield should ban plastic shopping bags

In-store plastic bags may become a thing of the past. (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

Many towns around the state of Connecticut have recently begun to join together in an effort to put a stop to the use of plastic shopping bags. This movement has become fairly popular across America over the past few years, as several major cities across the country have decided to enact legislation regarding the use of plastic bags. These restrictions can involve either a tax or a complete ban on the use of bags in grocery stores, or a combination of the two. Cities are enacting these rules in the hopes to limit the seemingly uncontrollable problem that plastic bags have become in our country.

Recently, Mansfield has announced they are deciding whether or not to add their names to the list of cities and towns that ban plastic bags. This list, which currently contains names like Austin, Chicago and Seattle, would mean hailing Mansfield as a town that values the environment and is ready to move forward as an eco-friendlier community. This plastic bag ban that is currently sweeping through the state should without a doubt be adopted by Mansfield in the coming months.

The Mansfield Solid Waste Advisory Board has been conducting research about the impact of plastic bags on our environment since this past summer, and will be presenting their findings to the public this month. The town’s decision to pursue a plastic bag ban follows the conclusion of this research which, as other studies have found, shows that plastic bags in our environment contribute to the issues of climate change. By adding to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, killing many species of birds and marine animals, and sitting in landfills for hundreds of years without decomposing, plastic bags do far more destruction to the planet than they help the people who use them. Given the results of this research, there is no reason why citizens of Mansfield, or of any other town, should want to continue using plastic bags.

While banning plastic bags may seem like a large and inconvenient change to many people, it is not as inconvenient as the huge changes in the climate we will continue to see as climate change progresses. Asking individuals to use reusable cloth shopping bags is a minute change in a day to day routine, but it can have a large impact. By halting the use of plastic bags, Mansfield can make a change in the way they are impacting the environment, and try to change the town’s green footprint for the better. UConn, Mansfield and all other towns in the state should continue this plastic bag ban trend and help move our state towards a greener future.