Tompkins County, NY Considers Plastic Bag Ban

Tompkins County, NY Considers Plastic Bag Ban

Ithaca, New York, July 1, 2013 (PBBR) - The Tompkins County Legislature is considering adopting a local ordinance prohibiting retailers from giving plastic bags to customers at checkout.

According to Wikipedia, Tompkins County comprises the entire Ithaca, NY Metropolitan Area with some 101,000 residents. It is also home to Cornell University.

Today, the Tompkins County Environmental Management Council considers the final version of the plastic bag ordinance before the proposal goes before the Tompkins County Legislature.

According to the draft legislation, the purpose of the ordinance is to improve the environment in Tompkins County by encouraging the use of reusable check-out bags and banning the use of plastic bags for retailed check-out of purchased goods.

"Plastic bags often are discarded into the environment and end up polluting our waterways, clogging sewers, endangering wildlife, and causing unsightly litter", states the ordinance. "These bags last hundreds of years in landfills and are a potential source of harmful chemicals when they do break down in the environment", continues the ordinance.

If adopted, the law will take effect in two phases. The law will start on January 1, 2014 for any retailer over 5,000 square feet, then January 1, 2015 for all other retailers. All retailers are affected. The ordinance states: Any person engaged in retail sales shall provide only reusable bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers.

With the amount yet to be worked out, retailers will be required to charge a fee (between ten cents and twenty-five cents) for any paper bag that a customer requests.

Copyright © 2013 Plastic Bag Ban Report. All Rights Reserved.

Cover photo: Waterfalls at Robert H. Treman State Park. Snapshot by User:The lorax. Released into public domain.