Suffolk County considering ban on plastic bags at grocery stores

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Kristin Thorne reports Suffolk County lawmakers are considering a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.

Suffolk County is considering a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.

Legislator William Spencer introduced the bill, saying plastic bags are a source of pollution.

The proposed law would mean stores couldn't use single-use plastic bags.

Paper bags and reusable bags would still be offered.

But not everyone agrees with the proposal. Some lawmakers are saying the proposed ban would bring an unnecessary burden to retailers and customers.

A public hearing on the issue is being held Tuesday night.

Peter Schedler of East Northport made a conscious decision a year ago to start using reusable grocery bags, instead of the plastic ones.

"I believe in not using those things because they kill the fish litter the place," he said.

That's the idea behind the new bill being considered by the Suffolk County legislature, to ban the distribution of single use plastic bags.

People could purchase brown paper bags from retailers for 10 cents each.

Sot. Legislator William Spencer/(D-Centerport)

45:07 "The fee is not a tax," said Spencer. "This helps to protect the business so when they have to buy the more expensive paper then they will be covered."

Plastic bags are already banned in Southampton, East Hampton and Patchogue Village.

"We don't want a patchwork of legislation, let's do it countywide," said Spencer.

Those with the plastics industry have spoken out across the country against these plastic bag bans.

They say it makes no sense to get rid of a useful, 100 percent recyclable product.

But a lot of people don't see it that way.

"Plastic bags have taken a big toll on our economy or society. It affects our wildlife, our fish our birds. We use them for a few seconds and then stick around for a thousand years," said Spencer.

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