The City Council of Rye, New York passed an ordinance banning retail plastic shopping bags this month. The Council assured merchants that the ordinance applied only to retail shopping bags at the point of sale.
The City Council based the ordinance on Westport, Connecticut's ban which was passed in September, 2008. The Concil also had discussions with merchants in Chestertown, MD., Brownsville, TX and Telluride, CO, all towns that have passed plastic bag ordinances.
The ordinance does not apply to:
- Thin film, produce‐type bags used for sanitary/spillage reasons (for example, to hold deli meats, cheeses, produce, soup containers)
- Garment bags such as those typically used by dry‐cleaners
- Plastic bags measuring 28” x 36” or larger, typically used to enclose large items such as art work, architectural drawings
- Thick, large plastic bags made of durable plastic that is at least 2.25 mils thick
- Any other type of plastic, such as plastic containers, cups, utensils, bottles.
Merchants are given six months from the date the law is passed to deplete their inventory of retail plastic shopping bags.
The ordinance states that its purpose is to improve the environment in Rye by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags and banning the use of plastic bags for retail checkout of purchased goods. Retail establishments are encouraged to make reusable bags available for sale.
Support for the ban was widespread among area government officials. One letter of support was received from the Mayor of the Town of Chestertown. In the letter, Mayor Margo Bailey stated, "My tiny community uses 4.5 million bags a year. That is crazy and so unnecessary. Life will go on without these bags as it did before 1974. Businesses will not close, dog droppings will get picked up, and we will get our groceries home in a more intelligent way. I urge you to join the growing number of towns that are committed to a more sustainable and viable future."
According to Chrisitan Falcone of the Rye Sound Shore Review, over 60 merchants signed a petition in support of the ban. Learn more about the ban by reading this very informative article, "Rye's plastic bag ordinance marks first in county".
The effective date of the ordinance is May 7, 2012.
Rye is just north of New York city and is located in Westchester County, one of the most historic counties in the nation.