CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - A town-wide ban on plastic bags was the topic of conversation Tuesday night when members of New Castle's Sustainability Advisory Board and Town Board got together for a work session.
SAB member Allyson Bari-Guida is hoping the town will follow in the footsteps of Rye, Mamaroneck and other Westchester municipalities by creating a local law to ban the bags, which she said cause major harm to the environment.
The law would force all retailers in Millwood in Chappaqua to encourage the use of reusable and recyclable paper bags. Bari-Guida said a six month leeway period would allow retailers to get rid of their existing inventory, but would be fined $150 for any violation after.
Bari-Guida thinks people would be resistant to the change at first, but given enough time people would get used to it. She compared the change to when New Castle switched its garbage pick-up from two days per week to one day, saying there was a “ruckus” at first eventually everybody adapted to the change.
“The same thing’s going to happen with plastic bags,” she said. “A lot of people are going to complain, but ultimately they will bring their re-usable bags to the stores, they’ll start to remember to do it, and it’ll just be the new norm.”
She said the law is necessary as non-biodegradable plastic bags often are discarded into the environment and end up polluting waterways, clogging sewers, endangering marine life and causing litter.
Currently, though, only 17 towns and cities throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii and New York have imposed such a law. Bari-Guida said so few towns have banned the bags because there are simply not enough people taking the initiative.
“I think people are lazy to take this on,” she said. “I just decided I can’t really let it go. Because if I let it go, it’s never going to happen.”
Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter wrote she is expecting there to be “a lot of ‘opinion’ on the issue from both residents and merchants.”