Plastic Bags Banned in Rye; Law Goes Into Effect May 7

Plastic checkout bags, or the majority of them at least, will be a thing of the past come May 7, 2012. At their December 7 meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to adopt a local law banning the ubiquitous consumer item in Rye.

Published December 15, 2011 5:14 PM
2 min read

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bagsinsidePlastic checkout bags, or the majority of them at least, will be a thing of the past come May 7, 2012. At their December 7 meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to adopt a local law banning the ubiquitous consumer item in Rye.

 

By Jim Byrne

 

Plastic checkout bags, or the majority of them at least, will be a thing of the past come May 7, 2012. At their December 7 meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to adopt a local law banning the ubiquitous consumer item in Rye.

 

bagsMerchants now have six months to exhaust their supply. The move is intended to promote the use of reusable bags while protecting the environment. Rye is the first municipality in Westchester to enact such a ban, but leaders from Southampton and Westport – communities that previously bagged plastic – were on hand at the meeting to show support.

 

“This was a citizen-drive ordinance,” said Councilwoman Suzanna Keith, who created the Sustainability Committee, the group that advanced this cause. “The economic analysis shows no real cost for the taxpayer. This is the first step in our Sustainability plan, and it also fits into our stormwater management goals.”

 

Outside the Council chambers, the excitement was palpable as the Sustainability Committee and supporters congratulated one another.

 

“The unanimous vote reflects a collective effort by Rye’s citizens and merchants to protect our beautiful community,” said Sara Goddard, Committee Chair. “It also demonstrates that Rye intends to lead by example on this important issue.”

 

Bags that don’t fall under the ban guidelines include those used to transport meat and produce, as well as the garment types used by dry cleaners. The penalty for a violation is $150; it’s worth noting that not one citation has been given in Westport.

Councilwoman Paula Gamache thanked the Sustainability Committee and Ms. Goddard, who she said tirelessly made calls around the country to dig up any information the Council requested.

 

“We received letters from Mamaroneck saying they’re watching what’s going on here, and I think it will now be easier for other communities to follow suit,” said the Councilwoman.

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