The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently honored four Westport, Conn., residents for their part in enacting a ban on plastic bags in their town. Jonathan Cunitz, Liz Milwe, Gene Seidman and Jeffrey Wieser were among the winners of the 2009 Environmental Award. EPA's Web site notes:
In early 2008, the four Members of District 4 of the Westport, Connecticut Representative Town Meeting (RTM) met to discuss the concern of the increasing appearance of plastic bags on the town's roads, streams, river and beaches. Jonathan Cunitz, Liz Milwe, Gene Seidman, and Jeffrey Wieser spent the next several months researching the issue of plastic bags in the environment and the available alternatives to remedy this growing problem. After many meetings with town leaders, merchants, students, residents and other members of the Westport RTM, they concluded that the appropriate response was to enact an ordinance that encouraged the use of reusable shopping bags and ban the use of plastic retail checkout bags. In the months to follow, the ordinance was discussed at various meetings and finally submitted to the proper committees for approval. It received overwhelming support, and was approved by a vote of 26 to 5. Westport has now become one of the first communities east of California to pass a ban on retail checkout bags and its ordinances is the most extensive in the country, applying to all stores and even farmers' markets and sidewalk sales.I think it's noteworthy that EPA chose to honor a group for banning a plastic product. You may recall that The Plastics Blog has touched on the Westport ban a couple of times in the past year.