Suffolk County Lawmakers To Vote On Plastic, Paper Bag Fee

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Suffolk County lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday on a fee for shoppers using plastic and brown paper bags.

Legislators will vote on a five-cent charge for every plastic and brown paper bag used by consumers. The legislation was proposed in an effort to bolster the use of reusable bags.

“These bags have become ubiquitous all across America, and we’re using them at the grocery store to bag one or two items in — so when you go home, you actually have 20 or 30 plastic bags that you don’t use,” Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “They just end up in the trash, they end up along roadways and they end up polluting our waterways.”

According to Esposito, the money for the bag will be kept by retailers, not the county.

“We want people to change our behavior and for us to bring our own reusable bags to the stores when we go grocery shopping,” Esposito said.

Earlier this year, Suffolk lawmakers proposed banning one-time use plastic bags from stores entirely, but the idea was dropped.

In May, New York City Council voted 28 to 20 to approve a similar bill that would require shoppers to be charged a nickel for each bag. The new law is expected to be enacted in October, and will start being enforced in 2017.

More than 15 states have enacted bans or fees on plastic bags.

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