Southampton Town’s ban on single-use plastic shopping and take-out bags will go into effect on April 22 to coincide with Earth Day, and East Hampton’s ban will follow September 22.
The ban is designed to keep plastic out of landfills and from littering local streets and waters, where it is unsightly and poses a danger to wildlife.
The towns’ laws prohibit retail establishments from using certain plastic bags for at checkout, namely high density polyethylene (HDPE) bags. The ban does not apply to bags that are 28 by 36 inches or larger, or bags made out of durable plastic, at least 2.25 mils thick. Paper bags, which will still be permitted, must be 100% recyclable and display the words “reusable” and “recyclable.”
Penalties for violating the ban are a fine not to exceed $1,000 or up to 15 days in jail.
East Hampton Town states that the effective date of the legislation would be five months after Earth Day “… so as to allow retail establishments a period of time within which to dispose of their existing inventory of checkout bags and convert to alternative packaging materials.”
In the lead-up to Earth Day, Southampton Town is conducting a public awareness campaign titled, We Bag to Differ.
For more information on the public awareness program and on how to get involved, call 631-702-2440 or email WeBagtoDiffer@southamptontownny.gov.
CORRECTION: This article was updated April 2 to reflect that East Hampton Town’s bag ban takes effect five months after Earth Day, not on Earth Day.