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Jun 29, 2011 10:35 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Village Expected To Discuss Plastic Bag Ban Next Month

Jun 29, 2011 1:31 PM

Following a recent trend in several East End communities, the Westhampton Beach Village Board could soon discuss the possibility of implementing a ban on plastic bags in the village.

Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro confirmed on Tuesday that board members are scheduled to talk about the proposed legislation, which might be worded similar to a law adopted by Southampton Village in May, at their next work session in July. A date has not yet been scheduled.

Mayor Conrad Teller, who added the item to the agenda, said he was approached recently by a Southampton Town official—whose identity he declined to disclose—who suggested that the village look into adopting a measure similar to the one passed in Southampton Village. The town and East Hampton Village also are considering a similar ban on the plastic shopping bags.

Starting in November, Southampton Village stores and restaurants will be prohibited from distributing plastic bags upon checkout. The law was approved on May 3 by a 3-1 vote.

If Westhampton Beach adopts a similar law, Mr. Teller said the regulations would be similar to those in Southampton Village. The ban, if adopted, would impact retail stores, sidewalk sales, farmers markets, flea markets and restaurants in Westhampton Beach—although yard sales, tag sales or other sales at homes or by nonprofit groups would likely not be included.

If Westhampton Beach adopts exactly the same rules, retailers would no longer be able to distribute most common plastic bags—with the exception of plastic produce bags or plastic bags larger than 28 inches by 36 inches. They would also have to provide only reusable bags made of cloth or another fabric, such as durable plastic that is at least 2.25 millimeters thick, or recyclable paper bags.

Mr. Teller said he did not follow the proceedings in Southampton Village closely, noting that he rarely utilizes plastic bags. Still, he said that such a measure could help keep the village clean and protect the environment.

“It is something that might be good for the community, so it’s been placed on the agenda,” he said. “If the trustees like it, we’ll see what the next step is, and if they don’t, then it dies where it stands.”

Village Board member Hank Tucker, who said he did not know that the idea was up for discussion, said he would want to speak with local business owners before considering such a ban. Even though he supports recycling, Mr. Tucker said that a better way to go might be to adopt a voluntary program that would allow businesses to phase out plastic bags at their own discretion. “That should be the first step, not getting into fines and enforcement or seeing who is using plastic bags or not,” he said.

Board members Toni-Jo Birk and Leola “Sue” Farrell also said they did not know much about the measure, stating that they will reserve comment until finding out more details. Ms. Birk noted that such an idea has never been discussed before during her five years on the board.

Trustee Joan S. Levan, who will be stepping down from the board on Friday, said she plans to attend the work session but declined to offer her opinion on such a ban.

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What Hank is saying is he has to talk to Joan first.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 29, 11 5:39 PM
Plastic bags what a waste of time..
By ranger (54), springs on Jun 29, 11 7:37 PM
Balloons are illegal in WHB so I guess the balloon police will enforce this one, another code that would never be enforced so why bother, start recycling in your own home and teach your kids , people know what to do this is old news
By shock (70), whb on Jun 29, 11 11:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Another attempt to hurt business and get involved where they don't belong. Don't litter and recycle... the environment would be fine....
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jun 30, 11 7:42 AM
2 members liked this comment
Can you say "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" boys, and girls?

I bet you can...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 30, 11 11:07 PM
The plastic bag ban would not resolve the littering problem in any town or village.There is a lot more garbage out there floating around than plastic bags. Try banning plastic bottled drinks of all kinds as well. Who needs bottle water. Why not use reusable bottles of water too? Also the town and villages should send around the garbage trucks around more often to clear out overflowing garbage cans. That is where a lot of the flying garbage originates. Of course, ultimately its people that litter ...more
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jun 30, 11 7:10 PM