BYO Stamford - 2018

Bring your own Checkout Bags

The Checkout Bag Ordinance was approved by the Board of Reps

Oct 1, 2018: The Stamford Board of Representatives approved their checkout bag ordinance

Ordinance LR30.019 has been approved: This means, subject to Mayor David Martin signing the ordinance, there will be no more disposable plastic retail checkout bags are allowed; instead, retailers can provide paper checkout bags against a 10cent charge.

BYO Stamford is thrilled that this ordinance provides an incentive for shoppers to bring their own bags.  It is a wonderful move that will make our community cleaner and less wasteful.

Here is a link to the plastic bag ordinance as it was proposed on Oct 1, 2018 (the final ordinance to be posted in due course):

BYO Stamford Survey results (as of 10/2/2018)

We asked Stamford residents about their opinion with regard to a checkout plastic bag ban - and a charge for paper bags. As of Oct 2 2018 the results were:

numbers of households that took the survey: 

222 (representing 637 Stamford residents)

in favor of a ban and also a charge: ~54%

in favor of a ban but not a charge:~26% 

opposing a ban: ~20% 

80% of households that took the survey are in favor of a single use plastic bag ban.

View our Coalition Factsheet

BYO Stamford has teamed up with BYO Greenwich, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, SoundWaters, Surfrider Foundation CT Chapter, WOW - Women on Watch, the Stamford Land Conservation Trust, and Innovate Stamford.  

We have compiled a quick Factsheet to summarize why our groups support the ordinance, an example of a hybrid plastic bag ban and a charge for paper bags.

BYO Stamford

Who we are

We are a group of Stamford, CT residents that are interested in:

- reducing single use bags, in particular single use plastic bags

- preserving our coastline

- reducing waste management, recycling, and clean up costs for the community

- advocating a smarter and healthier way of life

- educating ourselves and others 

Our Goal

We advocate a Stamford wide hybrid ordinance that:

- bans the use of 'free' single use bags, especially single use plastic bags 

- incentivizes residents to BYO (bring their own reusable bags)

The latter would be achieved by:

- charging a fee for each check out bag (we advocate for recyclable paper bags) 

We advocate that until such an ordinance goes into effect retailers have to disclose the cost of bags.   This will educate consumers as to the cost of their perceived 'free' bags. 

Why reduce single use bags?

All single-use bags:

- can create unnecessary waste which results in costly waste management, costly recycling or costly clean ups

- can disperse into the environment 

- can impede waterways and clog storm drains

- require nonrenewable, fossil fuels to manufacture

- can overwhelm landfills


And they are NOT free. Retailers currently do not have to disclose the cost.  These costs either impact the retailers' profits negatively or are built into consumer prices.  

Plastic bags in particular:

- can pollute oceans and entangle & kill marine life 

- can degrade into small particles that contaminate our water and soil 

- can enter our food system by being ingested by the animals & fish we eat

- clog recycling stations (in fact, contrary to common belief, they are not easily recycable)

- produce toxic ash when incinerated 

But why a charge?

To encourage reusable instead of single use paper bags. A charge has proven to work

There is plenty of evidence that a charge works very well in terms of changing consumers' behaviors and incentivizing them to bring their own reusable bags.  

Here are a few examples:

San Jose, CA (ban on thin plastic, fee on all other bags)

Enacted in 2012, this has resulted in an 89% decrease in plastic bags clogging storm drains, 60% fewer ending up in rivers and streams, and 59% fewer plastic bags littering the street.

Suffolk County, NY (fee on plastic bags this year)

Plastic bags went from about 71% of the total data collected down to ~30%, while reusable bag use jumped from about 5% to 43%.

Los Angeles County, CA

single-use bag consumption decreasing by 95%, including a 30% decrease in paper bag use, while saving the county taxpayers millions of dollars of bag clean-up costs.

Chicago, IL (7 cent tax on plastic bags last year)

In the first month alone there was a 42% drop in the number of plastic and paper bags at grocery stores.

Washington DC (5 cent fee on carryout bags in 2010)

The result was a 60% - 80% decrease in single use bag consumption.

Why not provide a reward instead of a charge?

Empirical evidence suggests a charge is effective in changing behaviors whilst a reward is not.

Read more (link below) about studies that have been undertaken that show that rewards have not been effective at changing consumer behavior while charges have.

Next Steps

Bag Drives

In order to support Stamford residents with the upfront cost of purchasing reusable bags BYO Stamford will work with local businesses and the Cityon bag drives. 

If you are a local business interested in donating bags to the city, and if you would like BYO Stamford to be involved, please reach out to us. 

We want to hear from you

If you are a Stamford resident interested in working with us, or if you are local business interested in participating in a bag drive, please contact us:

You can also follow us on Social Media: 

Facebook: BYO Stamford 

Twitter: @byo_stamford

Download our Factsheet; spread the word

Organizations and Companies that support BYO Stamford

BYO Greenwich

BYOGreenwich represents the students, individuals, families, pet owners, non-profits and businesses from every district of Greenwich that have seen, read about and personally have noticed the human health, environmental and fiscal impact plastic bags have on our community and want to make a positive change in and for our Town and our children's future.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) was formed in 1985 by a small group of concerned citizens who recognized the need to provide public involvement to advance stronger environmental policy. Today, CCE has grown to an 80,000-member organization with offices in Farmingdale, NY, Albany, NY, Syracuse, NY, Buffalo, NY, and Hamden, CT. 


SoundWaters protects the Long Island Sound through education and action. SoundWaters is a recognized and trusted organization locally and in the Long Island Sound region. We have sustained relationships built on shared value and trust for 25 years that includes community, school, business, and political leaders.

Innovate Stamford

Innovate Stamford is an organization committed to innovation. Check out their WebSite - exciting stuff is happening in Stamford.

Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

WOW ("Women on Watch")

Women on Watch, a Stamford group formed in 2008, is a group focused on aiding the democratic election effort. 

Our Partners