Stop & Shop to stop offering plastic bags at Connecticut stores

Stop & Shop supermarkets announced Monday it will stop offering plastic bags at its 91 Connecticut stores, including one in Naugatuck, starting Thursday, the day a new 10-cent fee on the bags goes into effect at all stores in the state.

The decision bypasses the two-year period stores in Connecticut have before an outright ban on the bags goes into effect on June 30, 2021, about 40 years after plastic bags became commonly used in stores in the United States.

Connecticut joins California, New York and Hawaii in banning the bags statewide, alongside hundreds of individual towns and counties.

Stop & Shop became the second large grocery chain to announce it will eliminate the use of plastic bags at its Connecticut stores. Big Y announced earlier this month that it will do the same at its stores, including one in Naugatuck.

The tax and 2021 ban are part of an amendment to the state budget bill the legislature passed in June, cheered as a measure to reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream or becoming litter.

Stop & Shop’s decision may put a small dent in the revenue the 10-cent fee was expected to generate, estimated at $27.7 million in the current 2020 fiscal year and $26.8 million in the 2021 fiscal year. After that, stores will be prohibited from selling the bags at all.

Stop & Shop will give a free reusable bag to customers who bring in used plastic bags. The stores will also sell reusable bags for $2.50, with $1 from each sale given to a Connecticut nonprofit of the shopper’s choice.

The law does not require a fee on paper bags, but Stop & Shop said it will charge its own fee on paper bags beginning Sept. 3, “to encourage our customers to make the switch to reusable,” said Rudy DiPietro, a Stop & Shop vice president, in a news release.

Gina Lopez of Prospect, shopping at the Stop & Shop on Reidville Drive in Waterbury Monday, said she already owns reusable bags she brings to Aldi, the German-owned grocery chain that does not offer plastic bags at its stores.

“It’s just an adjustment, that’s all,” she said.