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Dec 18, 2014 6:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton And East Hampton Towns Adopt Plastic Bag Bans

Dec 22, 2014 10:58 AM

UPDATE, Friday, 10 a.m.:

The East Hampton Town Board on Thursday night approved its proposed plastic bag ban, 4-1.

While the majority of Town Board members and Supervisor Larry Cantwell felt they had had enough time and public input to vote on the law, Councilman Fred Overton voted against the new law because he wanted extra time to review more information that the board received that night.

“I wasn’t convinced this was the way to go at this point in time,” he said after the Town Board meeting on Thursday night. “I wanted an opportunity to review additional information.”

East Hampton Town held its first public hearing on the new law on November 20 and voted to continue the hearing Thursday night. The decision was made after the board introduced a walk-on resolution, taking Jay Peltz, a representative of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, a nonprofit trade association that represents 21,000 grocery stores, by surprise.

Mr. Peltz, who had argued that plastic bags were no more harmful than paper bags and that the old reduce, reuse, recycle method would better serve the environment, made his last attempt to convince the Town Board not to go forward with the ban, but was unsuccessful.

Alex Walter, Supervisor Cantwell’s executive assistant, said that the law was something the Town Board felt needed to be passed, not just in East Hampton but across the East End.

“I think it’s a piece of legislation that the board, after meetings with other towns, felt that it was not just an East Hampton vote but a region-wide vote,” Mr. Walter said. “The board members were in favor of taking this on region-wide basis and believe they’re doing the right thing environmentally.”


The Southampton Town Board on Thursday afternoon approved a ban on the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags. East Hampton’s Town Board was expected to do the same on Thursday evening.

Both bans, as well as similar measures expected in several South Fork villages, will take effect on Earth Day 2015, which falls on April 22.

“So, plastic bags will not be available on the South Fork from Speonk-Remsenberg east,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said shortly before the split vote that adopted the ban. “I want to thank [East Hampton Town] for being very interested when we brought this to them. All of our villages will be going forward with this as well, so I think the regional initiative approach has been very effective. I’m hoping the other towns that have taken a wait-and-see approach to this will jump on board now.”

Ms. Throne-Holst has led a campaign over the last several months for a regional ban in all of the five East End towns. Members of the Riverhead Town Board, where the ban would carry major implications, have pledged to bring mirroring legislation to the floor there. Southold Town and Shelter Island Town have both said they would not be introducing legislation for the time being.

Southampton’s own bill passed on Thursday with only the minimum majority support. Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka voted against the ban, as had been expected.

Ms. Scalera has been a critic of the idea since taking office in 2012, shortly after the first introduction of bag ban legislation in the town failed without majority support from the previous Town Board. For the last three years, she has led a town program to increase recycling of plastic grocery bags and expand the use of reusable bags—an effort she says has paid dividends—in hopes of heading off justification of a ban. On Thursday, she offered a final counter to those who have said that while the education effort has been good for the town, without legislation it would never make substantial reductions in the number of plastic bags distributed.

“While from a political philosophical standpoint, I believe this ban to be overreaching government and nothing more than a political agenda item … the facts alone should resonate enough with this board to dissuade them from this most drastic of acts, namely a prohibition,” Ms. Scalera said. “Not only has recycling increased 43 percent, the decrease in plastic bags found as litter in the Great East End Clean-up over the last three years has decreased by 67 percent and the recycled materials collected through the Trex program at our schools has increased by 400 percent.”

Ms. Throne-Holst, in her comments on the ban, actually thanked Ms. Scalera for her years of efforts to reduce the number of bags in the waste stream and said that it was just that effort that she said has won support for the ban itself now.

“What it has done more than anything is brought support for this issue and awareness of just what the consequences of these bags are for the environment,” the supervisor said. “I think it speaks highly of the work you did that the public has understood the gravity of this issue and how they very easily can contribute to reducing the environmental impact of these bags by simply taking them out of use here.”

Councilman Brad Bender and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, who introduced bag ban legislation in 2011 and has been an outspoken proponent of the measure, voted with Ms. Throne-Holst for the ban’s adoption. Mr. Bender noted before voting that single-use plastic bags have long been abandoned in many countries overseas.

The ban in both towns will prohibit plastic bags of certain thickness that designates them as technically intended for a single-use. The ban will not include heavier plastic bags, like the ones distributed by Citarella markets, or on paper bags.

While Southampton Village and East Hampton Village have already had bans on the bags in place for nearly two years and the legislation has been warmly revived in East Hampton Town as well, Southampton’s move will carry the broadest impacts as the town is home to a half-dozen large supermarkets, several large drugstore chains and K-Mart.

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Dec 18, 14 6:37 PM
A ban on plastic bags which are produced from poison and pollution is not overreach or a sign of any political agenda.

This is a common sense solution to pollution. Oil is dead, it just hasn't figured it out yet and neither have the people making untold profits selling poison.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 18, 14 10:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
oh please..stop the hysteria. How about banning the plastic bottle, pampers, gloves worn by all medical personnel (ten to twenty per person per day) doggie poop bags provided at the beach by the Town and on and on and on. Just because you don't see what ends up in the garbage does not mean that this non degradable waste does not exist. Will have to stock up on those bags before the ban takes effect.
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Dec 18, 14 11:39 PM
Petroleum is toxic to almost every form of life on the planet with the exception of some microbes and extremophiles.

Perhaps a crude oil spill in your street from a derailment, being able to set your tap water on fire, or evacuating your home because of radon gas would change your tune? Maybe a coating of microbeads for your insides, instead of the marine life?

Or maybe you should look at pictures of the Hawaiian beaches they don't put on postcards...
Dec 19, 14 12:43 AM appended by Mr. Z
"Autism Risk Linked to Particulate Air Pollution: Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists reported"
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 19, 14 12:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mother nature releases oil into the environment all of the time. She also cleans it up.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 19, 14 10:13 AM
Not on the scale people do.

Largest Tar Sands Pipeline into US Shut Down after Spilling Nearly 60,000 Gallons of Oil
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 20, 14 1:48 AM
Pat yourselves on the back Town Board. A drop in the bucket of what is really effecting the lives of people that live and do business in the Town. Green movement lemmings. I'm all for re-use and recycle but of all the injustices in the Town like $100,000 plus salaries (Russell Kratoville) this is their touchdown, hurt small business without asking their situation?
By lirider (288), Westhampton Beach on Dec 19, 14 12:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
So is possession of a plastic bag in public now going to be probable cause to be detained by police?
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Dec 19, 14 1:52 AM
By zeke (40), southampton on Dec 19, 14 4:16 AM
I walk on the bay beaches most mornings and find all kinds of plastic items. One less is a big deal. Now work on the party balloons then plastic water bottles. Those next to bags I find the most of. Just google "gyres" and you see this large floating plastic island in the ocean. Get with it Southold & Riverhead stop polluting my side of the bay!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Dec 19, 14 6:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
Bill de Blasio has his horse drawn carriage issues and Southampton town Democrats have their plastic bags...Its all good we will survive.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Dec 19, 14 8:36 AM
Thank you Councilwoman Scalera and Councilman Glinka. You showed you are in-touch with the people, the businesses AND the environment. Could be the worst fumble these three stooges have made. Heard the Supervisor cite China as a government model we should be following? WHere are we headed?!! stock up on your water bottles folks and hopefully non of you earn your living on anything related to something that can be disposed of as litter - the course by these three is set and "we the people" are ...more
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Dec 19, 14 8:57 AM
“So, plastic bags will not be available on the South Fork from Speonk-Remsenberg east,”

So, either Eastport is exempt, or the woman who has been a supervisor/councilwoman for like 8 years, doesn't know the geography of her Town. Wow.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Dec 19, 14 9:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not sure of this, but don't parts of Eastport hamlet fall within Brookhaven Township? Maybe that's what she was talking about. Maybe not possible to apply a cross-jurisdictional ban, better to stay well to the east side of town line. (???)
By PQ1 (167), hampton bays on Dec 19, 14 9:51 AM
It's not overreach. It just idiotic and silly. Anyone who thinks paper bags are better environmentally isn't thinking it through...cutting trees, shipping trees, converting trees to paper, shipping paper, burning it in fireplaces. The town would be much better off banning junk mail. I am so sick of all the garbage I receive in my mailbox every day.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Dec 19, 14 10:09 AM
At long last! It would be easy to be swayed by the civil and restrained discourse of the two unsuccessful opponents, Ms. Scalera and Mr. Glinka, and give them a pass, just saying we agree to disagree. They are both of them quite civil and restrained, and that level of speaking has regrettably been in short supply on this Town Board in recent years.

I can't give them a pass, though. Their argument for the education program is logically flawed -- if bags are enough of problem to spend ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 19, 14 10:32 AM
Speaking of the ballot box,its a shame that this matter could not have been put to a referendum and have the residents of the town vote on this. Do you really think it would have passed? Will never know now. So rather than soothsaying about the political futures of Ms. Scalera and Mr. Glinka, you might ponder how this decision might negatively impact your little triumvirate.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Dec 19, 14 11:02 AM
In fact, it is neither mine nor a triumvirate. I don't regret that it's not mine, but I could wish that it would be more of a triumvirate. That aside, I believe these three Council members who supported the ban will be happy to own that, and also to own what I believe will be the net voter positives flowing from it.

Referendum? Why? We elected these people to make these decisions, and they've done it. If we don't like their decisions, we can vote them out (but see above).
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Dec 19, 14 1:06 PM
Is there anything or any subject that T-Bridge isn't an expert on?
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Dec 20, 14 12:14 PM
It's easy enough to carry small items by hand, or bring along a reusable bag as has been done in other countries for years. No big deal.
By oystercatcher (126), southampton on Dec 19, 14 11:28 AM
3 members liked this comment
Wow only Democrats carry BAGS to the store,I guess Republicans have the food delivered.Mr Glenka and Ms Scalera you have to become one of the regular people.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Dec 19, 14 5:08 PM
Off point, neither said differently and seem to be the only ones who are regular. Agree with Toma Noku- nice try 'watch dog' but if you had put this to the people, i would bet you would have had a different outcome- but thats ok - either way Scalera and Glinka futures look bright- the others…..hardly. and to Turkey Now they have to own it!
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Dec 19, 14 7:05 PM
not quite accurate Ms. Throne-Holst. The troglodytes in Sag Harbor are still arguing the point....
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on Dec 19, 14 8:59 PM
As far as a referendum goes... well here's the surprise. America is not a true democracy. Our firm off government would more accurately be described as a representative republic. The founders of our country knew well that direct democracy or rule by plebiscite would result in chaos.
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on Dec 19, 14 9:11 PM
It is worth noting only stakeholders, those with land or money, were eligible to vote when the USA was founded.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Dec 20, 14 1:46 PM
It's also worth mentioning that there was what was being fought for, and the Old Europe social convention which stood in it's way.

Daily life is history, not just facts and dates.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 20, 14 4:01 PM
You should read Saturday's editorial in " the Long Island" NewsDaily":Editorial: How Long Island can do better at recycling." and look at what true waste management and recycling program model should look like and not this plastic bag greenwash that ignores the issue in SH. Not much to pad yourselves on the tush about.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Dec 20, 14 9:23 AM
Agreed. There is much to be done.

Anyone who has old e-waste can reach out to me. I can salvage what is worth refurbishing, and properly recycle the rest. All HDDs are Department of Defense grade wiped.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Dec 20, 14 4:04 PM
Scalera "cooked" the facts. Everyone who knew the truth about what the Town collected before her "education" program, also know the truth about what the Town collected afterward. And the truth is, this is not the "Lourdes of Plastic Recycling". If the entire world has a recycling rate of less than 3%, how could SH's rate be 44%???? "Figures don't lie, but liars figure." That's the old expression and I believe it applies here. Worse than that, egos get in the way and so do politics. Scalera ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Dec 21, 14 1:09 PM
Dodger- even for you this is low! "cooked" books?!. As I have said , while I don't always agree with her, she does not strike me as being dishonest and smart enough not to provide misinformation, easily verifiable. I would would bet all the information she gave was supported by documents which you can foil as I would hope yours are. You may qualify her as many things- stupid? not one of them! Dishonest not one either! Your post so vitriol- seems you have a horse in this race. You have any ...more
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Dec 21, 14 7:18 PM
This ban stinks. I recycle the grocery bags in my bathroom garbage cans and also use them for picking up poop when I take the dogs walking. So now I guess I have to buy bags instead of recycle. Go figure. It makes little sense.
By hamptonite (26), hamptons on Dec 22, 14 2:06 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Dec 30, 14 8:20 AM