Plastic bag ban on the table?

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Recyclable grocery bags
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Recyclable grocery bags

The bag ban proposal is back in town.

After four out of five Town Board members shot down the idea a couple years ago, a proposal to ban retail plastic bags in Riverhead was brought to the Board members Thursday morning. 

Having passed in Southampton Village in 2011 — and subsequently lauded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation — the effort was recently pitched by the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association as one that should be supported across the regional level.

“It’s a good issue to think about,” Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty, who chairs the association, said recently.

A statement released in late April announced the joint effort, stating that the EESMA is hoping to implement plastic bag bans by Earth Day of 2015.

“If we are serious about eliminating plastic bag litter, and achieving results that benefit the area on a regional basis, a shared commitment to enacting this legislation is the way to do it,” Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in the statement.

On Thursday morning, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, one of the liaisons to the town’s Energy Advisory Committee, said she was asked by Ms. Throne-Holst to introduce the proposal back to the Town Board. Riverhead’s five-member board took draft copies of the legislation being considered in Southampton Town, though there was no discussion of the proposal.

The proposal states that “any person engaged in retail sales shall provide only reusable bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers,” and exempts plastic produce bags or plastic bags measuring 28 inches by 36 inches or larger in size. Fines would range from $100 to $250 per offense.

A couple years back, only one board member — Jim Wooten — didn’t oppose the ban outright.