TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – Many Tuckahoe residents have shown resistance to proposed legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags at retail outlets in the village.
The Tuckahoe Board of Trustees continues to debate the merit of the bill proposed by Trustee Stephen Quigley, which would forbid the bags at retail establishments. It would be part of a wider local effort, with Mamaroneck following the example set by Rye in 2011.
“It just seems like an unnecessary burden for both shoppers and for business owners,” resident Liliana Jones said. “I’ve always found plastic bags to be easier to carry than paper.”
The ordinance would be enacted six months after it is filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.
Violators would be subject to fines if caught by code enforcement officers. The first violation would result in a warning, with the second resulting in a $100 fine, the third a $250 fine and all subsequent offenses would lead to fines no higher than $500.
Any fines that are collected would be used for environmentally responsible projects, to be determined by the trustees. Violators would have the opportunity for a formal review.
According to the Clean Air Council, Americans use approximately one billion plastic non-biodegradable shopping bags each year, only 12 percent of which were recycled as recently as 2010.
The bags can last hundreds of years in landfills and are a potential source of harmful chemicals when they break down, according to the council. The bags often find their way into the environment, polluting waterways, clogging sewers and endangering marine life, the group says.
"Almost every environmental consequence has a human health consequence, from wild fires to global warming to the use of plastics," said Patti Wood, of Grassroots Environmental Education. "Every little piece of plastic that ends up in the oceans, which is a great amount, and plastics persist because they don't break down easily. As plastic photo degrades, it becomes a magnet for toxic chemicals like persistent organic pollutants."
Residents feel that there are other ways to help the environment around Westchester County.
“It would be a good small step, but we should be concentrating our efforts on making a bigger impact,” Mark Roberts said. “Plastic bags are just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the damage we’re doing to the environment.”
Residents can join the debate when it continues at the next Board of Trustees meeting on April 8.
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