Wednesday is the first day of the plastic bag ban in East Hampton Village, making it the second municipality on Long Island to go green when it comes to shopping.
A new law makes it illegal for single-use, non-biodegradable bags plastic shopping and take-out bags, like the ones most often seen at grocery stores, to be given to customers at village stores, markets, and pharmacies. The law included a six-month grace period for compliance.
Paper bags and extra-large plastic bags typical of clothing stores can still be used, but village officials passed the law in hopes of promoting reusable bag usage. Non-profits and residents holding yard sales at their homes are not subject to the ban.
, the only grocery in the village limits ( is outside the village line), was more than ready for the transition and the store is fully stocked up on colorful reusable bags. The , which was enacted in mid-2011 and took effect in November, was the first of its kind in the state, to follow suit.
As the grocery chain did at its Southampton location, Waldbaum's will begin charging 5 cents each for 100 percent recycled paper bags and donate the profit to the Peconic Land Trust, an East End farming, open space and parkland preservation nonprofit, according to Marcy Connor, a representative of A&P, Waldbaum's parent company. The ban does require that if stores offer paper bags to customers they be of a high-recyclable grade.
Reusable shopping bags made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled material will be sold for 99 cents each. Customers will get 5 cents off their grocery bill each time they reuse a bag. The store will also carry Peconic Land Trust-branded merchandise with revenue going to the trust.
The ban does not apply to small plastic bags used to hold items like fruit and vegetables.
One store not as heavily impacted is in East Hampton, which offers a heavier, reusable plastic bag. Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday, "The plastics ban applies only to the very thin plastic you are familiar with at the large grocers. The heavier plastic bag is allowed."
According to 27East, Citarella’s bags are 3 mil thick. The village law applies only to plastic bags less than 2.25 mils that are smaller than 28 by 36 inches.
The fine for not complying with the village code can run up to $1,000 and/or 15 days in jail.