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Oct 24, 2014 11:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

East End Towns, Villages Will Introduce Bans On Plastic Bags

Oct 29, 2014 11:05 AM

Three of the five East End towns, as well as five villages in Southampton Town, will introduce legislation in the coming weeks that will amount to a regional ban on single-use plastic bags.

The Southampton Town Board, which marshaled the regionwide effort, introduced its local ban on Tuesday, scheduling it for a public hearing on November 25.

Southampton Village and East Hampton Village implemented their respective bans in 2011, making them the first municipalities in the region to do so.

“We knew we could pass it here, but we agreed that we should see if we could come up with something regional,” Town Councilman Brad Bender said on Thursday. “We circulated the East Hampton Village and Southampton Village codes to everyone … so everyone has the exact same wording. It puts everyone on a level playing field.”

Mr. Bender said two other East End towns, East Hampton and Riverhead, and five Southampton Town villages that do not already have a bag ban in place—all except Westhampton Beach Village—have agreed to introduce the bills, with generally broad support from lawmakers in each. Southampton Town had circulated letters to the villages earlier this month asking them to voice their support or objection to the proposal.

“Worldwide, the accumulation of plastic pollutes miles upon miles of shoreline and extends to all depths of the sea, harming our environment and ourselves, as well as marine and other wildlife,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, an avid surfcaster, said in a statement last week. “Without this regional effort among local towns and villages, the plastic bags targeted by this initiative would only continue the detrimental build-up of litter across the East End and beyond.”

Along with Southampton Town, Sag Harbor Village introduced its ban legislation this week, while other municipalities are expected to do so at their next official board meetings, said Mr. Bender, who had pledged to revive the ban proposal during his election campaign a year ago.

“I think everyone agrees that eliminating single-use plastic bags as a form of litter is an excellent goal, and working together to enact legislation on a regional basis provides an opportunity to achieve the greatest results and send a coordinated and non-partisan message about the measure’s environmental significance,” Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in a statement announcing the regional agreement on Wednesday.

The ban would apply to single-use plastic bags, defined as bags of below a certain thickness, used by retail stores at checkout. The legislation calls only for recyclable paper bags and reusable bags—including those made of plastic of a certain thickness, like the plastic bags used at Citarella grocery stores—to be used in their stead.

In Southampton Town’s legislation, the ban would take effect on April 22, 2015—Earth Day.

Southold Town and Shelter Island have not pledged to embrace the bag ban, and the villages of Westhampton Beach and Greenport will not introduce ban legislation of their own, at least for the time being—choosing instead to take a “wait-and-see” approach to the ban initiative, Ms. Throne-Holst said.

In Riverhead Town Hall, the support for the ban legislation was not resounding either, Mr. Bender said. Supervisor Sean Walter was not in favor of introducing the legislation, according to Mr. Bender, but three of the town’s board members—John Dunleavy, James Wooten and Jodi Giglio—have agreed to bring the bill to the public on their own.

The ban is not universally supported in Southampton Town Hall either: Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka have expressed reservations about the ban. This week, Ms. Scalera said that despite her vote to schedule the public hearing, her negative impression of the proposal remains.

“I think it’s unfortunate that a ban is the direction a majority of the board appears to be going in,” she said. “Removing the choice from Southampton Town residents, who have proven they make environmentally responsible choices, I believe is wrong.”

It is the second time that Southampton Town has introduced a plastic bag ban proposal. The first time was more than three years ago, shortly after Southampton Village instituted a ban. But that proposal died on the vine without majority support, instead spurring a recycling education campaign led by Ms. Scalera and former Councilman Chris Nuzzi and dubbed “A Greener Southampton, The Solution Is In The Bag,” which Ms. Scalera said this week has been a clear success.

Mr. Bender said this week that he sees the proposed ban complementing that effort, not replacing it, since the flimsy bags will not likely be entirely eliminated from use in the near future. But the ban, he said, is an important step in the right direction.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Bender said. “I’ve never seen a paper bag stuck in a tree.”

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If people don't want to use these so-called "single use" bags why don't they bring their own and just say no thank you to them instead of forcing this down everyone's throat. All my bags are used at least twice. Once from the store and then again at home. How are people supposed to take home their groceries? If the answer is to buy some sort of bag consider this: the government is then telling its citizens what product they must buy. This sounds like just the babiest of steps towards the government ...more
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Oct 24, 14 12:54 PM
No, it's just the 'government' telling you that you're an idiot for using disposable plastic bags.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Oct 24, 14 4:25 PM
"You're not the boss of me."

Typical response of a petulant child.

Maybe they should be outlawed because they're harmful to wildlife, they're made from natural gas (methane is the WORST greenhouse gas, and they look awful hung out to tatter in the bushes and trees.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 24, 14 8:26 PM
Duckbornandraised, what are you worried about your King Kullen is in Brookhaven township. You can have all the plastic bags you want.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Oct 29, 14 2:47 PM
Over 800 people signed a petition in opposition to the Tuckahoe development and the Town board ignored it and chose to go against the public will. What's the point of setting up a Town meeting if this group does not listen. Just pass your law as you fully intend to do and stop the farce. You'll have some green-wash creds on your CV's but you won't have solved a more pressing littering problem in the town. Just take a walk along the roads of this Town and you will realize that plastic bags are the ...more
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Oct 24, 14 3:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ummmm I honestly think you would change your mind when you try to walk on the beach and have to dodge puppy poo. Responsible dog owners pick up the poo. Responsible owners would throw it away, but frankly I'm just glad it's not on the beach.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Oct 24, 14 8:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Durable hemp shopping bag: $8.50

Less trash in the street: Priceless
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 24, 14 9:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Overkill, overreaction, overreaching nonsense. These bags are excellent for dog and cat litter disposal as well as other household uses and when they finally reach the landfill they take up about two percent of the volume of paper bags otherwise needed by shoppers. Why do people cite roadside littering as a reason to ban plastic bags, do they really believe those responsible won't also throw their paper bags away carelessly?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 24, 14 11:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
1970's~Save the trees! Stop using paper bags
1980's~Use plastic bags, not paper...save the trees
1990's~Choice of plastic or paper bags to bag your grocery's
2000's~Plastic bags are the choice. No more paper bags. We saved the trees
2010's~Plastic bags are bad, Evil. Use paper. We have plenty of trees
2020's (Future prediction)~Save the trees! Stop using paper bags
2030's~ Repeat 1980's to 2010's
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Oct 25, 14 12:05 AM
2 members liked this comment
Orwellian. Posturing. Southampton Village does not enforce. Paper gets moist, groceries fall.
By zeke (40), southampton on Oct 25, 14 5:07 AM
I'm glad the Town Board is working so hard for the citizens of this Township. They're really making a difference with our daily lives. I feel safer, more peaceful, and secure with my future with such great people looking out for us. They're special people.
By lirider (288), Westhampton Beach on Oct 25, 14 6:36 AM
huh. never knew there were so many fans of plastic?
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 25, 14 10:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
I really had high hopes for Brad Bender, but he is turning out to be another bag of wind. I thought he would have legislations to help Flanders, and change low income areas. Instead he is an out of the office photo op type like the rest of them. The world is worried about war, terrorists, disease, poverty, and these fools can't figure out what type of bag they want. The bag controversy is another example in how out of touch we are in the Hamptons. Stick to the local problems of taxes, education, ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 25, 14 11:55 AM
2 members liked this comment
Chief, you've got it wrong again. I don't agree with Brad Bender on the value of a regional approach here. As stated in my post below, I believe Southampton Town should have taken the lead months ago and passed a ban.

That said, you couldn't be more wrong about Mr. Bender himself. "An out of the office photo op type," you wrote. Let me tell you, sir, not only does Brad Bender attend Town Board meetings now as a member, but he attended almost every Town Board meeting for years BEFORE ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 29, 14 8:56 PM
Oh get over it....is it a crime to care about the environment? We cant bring our own bags?? Think long term people.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 14 10:12 AM
What are we waiting for?

A ban on single-use plastic bags could have been passed by Southampton Town as early as January of this year, when the new Town Board took over with a Democratic/Independence majority replacing the former Republican/Conservative majority that relentlessly opposed the ban.

Instead, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst withheld her vote for the ban, maintaining that we needed to get the whole East End on board.

Why? Sure it would be great if every town ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Oct 26, 14 11:40 AM
I use my plastics to bring home grocery, then use them again to line my bathroom garage can.
By Summer Resident (251), Southampton N.Y. on Oct 27, 14 12:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
the bags we are required to stuff our garbage in,the green ones are plastic. The bags potatoes come in are plastic,water bottles are plastic and come to think of it Im sick of seeing the Starbucks and 7-11 cups on the side of the road. Where will imposing YOUR will on others stop? I use reusable bags because they fit a ton and its less trips to the car. I use the plastic bags over and over for my lunch.While you are busy telling us what to do, people all over the country are using landfills and ...more
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Oct 31, 14 7:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Places all around the country are now supporting bans on plastic. We just had gutsy and innovative leadership in Southampton village to lead the way. Do you put on your seatbelt when you drive? Do you see people smoking in movie theaters, airplanes or any other closed in place?Or was this just some more liberal BS. This government interference is for people like you who have to have laws to prevent your stupid, lazy and irresponsible behavior.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 8, 14 9:38 AM
Aldi provides no free bags, you have to buy them, perhaps that's an angle to discourage the use of plastic bags. We don't need more laws, we're being legislated to death. Government is out of control at all levels.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 31, 14 11:04 PM
Blah, blah, blah just stick a couple of reusable bags in your car and use them. How lazy and irresponsible can you be.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 1, 14 3:52 PM
I actually reuse those plastic bags. On the other hand, those thicker plastic bags or worse - those fancy "reusable" bags are reproducing like gerbils in my closet and are really useless after the initial use. I actually just brought a bunch to the dump last week.
By wainscotter (18), wainscott on Nov 5, 14 2:35 PM
Why are they useless after initial use. I've had mine for years. What a ridiculous statement.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 7, 14 6:27 PM
.... are the plastic bags themselves the problem or the fact that they fly out of the back of open garbage trucks and uncovered dumpsters on trailers the problem? Cover the back of the trucks and cover dumpsters and a large part of the problem will be solved.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 8, 14 11:20 AM
It stopped supermarkets from using ten plastic bags instead of two reusable bags for a family size purchase.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Nov 8, 14 1:32 PM