Today’s the day. Southampton Town’s ban on single-use plastic shopping and take-out bags take’s effect, coinciding with Earth Day, April 22.
Southampton Village previously banned plastic bags. The villages of Quogue and Sagaponack join the town in imposing new bans April 22. Sag Harbor Village will follow June 1 and the town of East Hampton’s ban takes effect September 22.
“Remarkably, we are among the first municipalities in New York State to implement a plastic-bag ban, but we are proud to help lead the way in eliminating one of the most common and lasting form of litter,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who lobbied neighboring municipalities to join with the town in eliminating the bags.
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.
“More than two million plastic bags are used each year in Southampton Town alone,” Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender said. “But I’ve never seen a paper bag stuck in a tree.”
The newly effective law prohibits 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.” Produce bags are not subject to the ban.
Penalties for violating the ban are a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 15 days in jail.