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Plastic Bag Fee Could Be Coming To Mamaroneck

During a June ceremony at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, Town of Mamaroneck officials and residents received the first ever Eco Award from Westchester County for a food recycling program. Now, the town wants to encourage the use of recyclable bags. Photo Credit: Provided
The Town of Mamaroneck is the latest municipality to propose limiting plastic bags, like these ones caught in some trees, to reduce environmental pollution. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

The Town of Mamaroneck is the latest municipality to propose restricting the use of plastic and paper bags to reduce environmental pollution.

Five years ago, town officials drafted and then tabled, legislation that would have imposed a fee on any plastic or paper bags purchased within the Town of Mamaroneck's borders.

The proposal stalled when the Food Industry Alliance of New York threatened to sue Mamaroneck.

Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson has said Mamaroneck was not comfortable moving forward with that type of opposition.

The climate has changed with both Westchester County and New York state proposing bans on commercial use of plastic bags.

Mamaroneck's Sustainability Collaborate has been reworking a draft law similar to the 2013 version. Seligson said she hopes to have a draft law ready within the next few months.

Mamaroneck has not decided what fee it might charge for single-use plastic and paper bags.

"I don’t know the range of the possible fee, but we know the range in other communities is from 5 to 25 cents," Seligson told DailyVoice.

Many of Mamaroneck's environmental initiatives have been fueled by its volunteer-led Sustainability Collaborative. In May 2017, the Collaborative received a Westchester County “2017 Earth Day Recognition Award” for efforts related to educating residents on waste reduction and recycling. The Village of Larchmont, which is in the town, implemented reusable shopping bag legislation in 2013.

The Westchester Board of Legislators is considering a countywide law that would ban plastic bags and foam packaging from retail use, as reported here by Daily Voice.

Westchester's new Reusable Bag Initiative proposes to eliminate single-use plastic bags for retail checkout. Stores and other sellers will be allowed to provide only heavier-duty reusable bags or bags made of recycled paper.

Westchester is proposing a fee of no less than 10 cents for every bag provided by a seller. Studies have shown that a fee encourages consumers to bring their own bags, and results in the reduction of waste.

At the state level, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle has proposed a law to ban plastic carryout bags, as reported here by Daily Voice.

Several Westcheser communities, including Hastings-on-Hudson and Rye, already have restrictions on plastic bags.

Last month, the Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Larchmont received an Eco Award for their Food Waste Recycling Program administered by the Larchmont Mamaroneck Joint Garbage Commission.

During a ceremony at Kensico Dam Plaza, County Executive George Latimer and the Department of Environmental Facilities presented awards to residents, students and schools, municipalities, businesses and other organizations who have made exceptional contributions to the County’s local environment and to sustainability.

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