WESTON, Conn. – A campaign to ban plastic bags in Weston was presented to the town last week by two Weston Intermediate School fourth-graders, but met with opposition from the owner of Peter's Market, Weston's only retail food store.
Colleen Moore and Julie Morledge explained the environmental hazards of plastic bags at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Feb. 7 before requesting the community’s help in passing a law that bans plastic bags and allows only reusable or recyclable bags at checkout.
Jim Magee, owner of Peter's Market, said he was approached by the girls' parents and expressed opposition to the idea.
“Paper costs almost twice as much,” he said. “I’m a single operator, unlike the chains in Westport.”
Westport passed an ordinance in 2008 that bans the use of plastic bags for the retail checkout of purchased goods.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein was aware of Magee’s opposition and suggested the girls reach out to other businesses in the town center and seek a compromise before resubmitting their idea to the selectmen.
Rudd Anderson, a teacher at Weston Intermediate School, said the girls developed the idea last year for a class project. “They worked hard, got in touch with professionals and have a mentor who works in community organizing to help them,” he said.
Deidre Doran, who chairs the Weston Sustainability Committee, said she supports the girls’ cause. “I always use recyclable bags and want a ban on plastic,” she said. She spoke with Magee and said, “He’s a small business owner and doesn’t want to be singled out but we’ll talk with him and see if we can create something that’s mutually satisfactory.”
Magee said, “I appreciate what the kids are doing but think the state should enact legislation. But if the town passes a law that bans plastic bags, we’ll adapt.”