The Dutchess County Plastic Bag Recycling Petition sign now

Do you think that Dutchess County should follow Suffolk County's recent example and make sure that all of our county's supermarkets and retailers with more than 10,000 square feet of space set up collection bins so customers can drop off unwanted plastic bags that otherwise can end up in our waterways or trash (incinerated-- and then in our lungs)?

Note-- Suffolk County's law (see below) also contains a sensible provision ensuring that stores with more than 20,000 square feet of space have to make reusable bags available to consumers for purchase in lieu of plastic carryout bags.

If you agree, sign on to this petition, contact our County Legislature at [email protected], and pass it along to all you know (supporting info below).

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

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From ...


Bad Bags
Published: November 25, 2007

Plastic bags are nasty little things. Environmentalists check out a persuasive article by Katharine Mieszkowski in the Web publication Salon in August argue that plastic bags are the ultimate emblem of a society addicted to consumption, waste and petroleum, the raw material from which most bags are made. It takes millions of barrels of oil to make the 100 billion plastic bags that Americans use every year. About 2 percent of those bags are recycled. The rest are still with us, and will be long after we die, since they do not rot.

Moreover, unlike other forms of litter, like cigarette butts and beer cans, plastic shopping bags fly. They catch the breeze, attaching to trees and power lines, sinking into rivers and lakes and floating out to sea, where sea turtles and marine mammals mistake them for jellyfish, eat them and die.

We are thus cheered by a bill approved last week by the Suffolk County Legislature that takes a modest step towards discouraging plastic bags. The bill, sponsored by Wayne Horsley of Lindenhurst, does not ban them, but tries to promote their reuse and recycling, and to ease shoppers toward reusable alternatives.

The bill requires stores larger than 10,000 square feet to set up bins for discarded bags and to make sure the bags are taken to recyclers. Stores larger than 20,000 square feet would have to offer reusable bags for sale.

The bill puts Suffolk ahead of the rest of New York State, though behind places like San Francisco, where a bag ban for supermarkets and pharmacies takes effect this week, and Ireland, which has sharply reduced the use of bags by taxing them. Even so, it reflects a growing awareness that the benefits of plastic bags do not come close to outweighing the trouble they cause. More broadly, it seeks to slip Suffolk County gently into the vanguard of what could become a new, or at least re-energized, environmental movement in the suburbs.

More than a few places in the affluent corners of the planets leading consumer nation Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, this means you have taken steps recently to reduce waste and energy consumption, spurred perhaps by the entreaties of young people, uneasiness over gasoline prices or the warnings about the coming global greenhouse. An article by Winnie Hu in this paper last month described what schools in the region are doing, like encouraging parents not to idle their cars in parking lots while waiting to pick up their children.

With due respect to the moms and dads who are doing their part, turning off the S.U.V. for a half-minute is only the tiniest baby step in what looks to be a huge journey. The same with shunning plastic bags. But if a genuine sense of environmental responsibility is ever to take hold in this country if we ever find a way to shift the American mind-set from a disposable society to a sustainable society, as Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, put it last week we will have to do something.

Recycling plastic bags is as good a beginning as any. Starting, maybe, with the blue bag this newspaper came in.

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From,0,7159597.story ...

Plastic bag recycling plan passed in Suffolk
BY CHAU LAM | [email protected]
10:31 PM EST, November 20, 2007

The Suffolk County Legislature Tuesday approved legislation that would require large supermarkets and retailers to collect and recycle plastic shopping bags or face fines.

The bill, passed by a vote of 17-1, aims to curb the proliferation of the ubiquitous carryout bags and to encourage consumers to switch to reusable sacks, said Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), its sponsor.

"Our intention is to make the recycling of plastic bags easy," Horsley said. "Frankly, this is going a long way to making Long Island greener and cleaner"...

If signed by County Executive Steve Levy, the plastic bag bill would mandate that supermarkets and retailers with more than 10,000 square feet of space set out collection bins so customers could drop off unwanted plastic bags that otherwise could end up in the trash, landfills and waterways.

In addition, stores with more than 20,000 square feet of space would have to make reusable bags available to consumers for purchase in lieu of plastic carryout bags.

"We are inclined to support this voluntary program, but we are awaiting the public hearings," said Dan Aug, a Levy spokesman...

The measure would affect about 300 supermarkets and retailers, including King Kullen, Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot said a Horsley aide. Fines would be $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third, if it occurred within a one-year period.

Each year, about 100 billion plastic bags are sold to retailers worldwide, according to the Progressive Bag Alliance, a manufacturers group. The sacks are fully recyclable and can be turned into man-made "wood" used for decks, piers, posts and fences, according to the group.

A growing number of local and state governments, including New York City's, have attempted to curb the use of the bags, and some have outlawed them.

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From: "Hahn, Kara" [email protected]>
Presiding Officer William J. Lindsay's Office
Suffolk County Legislature
Cell: 516-639-3788
Fax: 631-853-6377
[email protected]

November 20, 2007 C: (631) 793-2012

Suffolk County Adopts: Plastic Bag Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Measure
First In State To Establish Recycling Program For Plastic Carryout Bags
Landmark Legislation Emulated By New York City Council

Hauppauge, NY Suffolk County Legislator Wayne Horsley (D Lindenhurst), joined by legislators, labor leaders, environmental advocates, and industry officials announced the adoption of a Plastic Bag Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Measure. Horsleys measure is the first of its kind to be adopted in New York State, and the precursor to a similar resolution proposed by the New York City Council. Horsleys measure will encourage the use of reusable bags, reduce the consumption of single-use carryout bags, and establish a recycling program for plastic carryout bags. Horsleys Plastic Carryout Bag Bill was approved 17-1-0-0.

Horsley said, Suffolk County is proud to adopt the Reduce, Recycle, Reuse program, which is a practical solution to a plastic problem. By promoting reusable bags, grocers can cut spending, generate new revenues, and provide shoppers with durable a product. Horsley continued, Unlike other plastic carryout bag recycling programs, this does not create a ban or an unfunded mandate. Instead, we have worked with the industry to promote corporate citizenship, allow for personal choice, and encourage recycling through convenience and free-market demand.

Horsley introduced the Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Measure, which calls on establishments over 10,000 square feet to: 1) establish a visible, accessible, at-store plastic carryout bag collection bin for the purpose of collecting and recycling plastic carryout bags, 2) to collect, transport, and recycle collected bags in a manner consistent with law, and 3) for retailers over 20,000 square feet to make reusable bags available to consumers for purchase in lieu of plastic carryout bags.

Legislator Kate Browning (D Shirley) said, I co-sponsored this bill because reducing the amount of plastic bags each person uses will keep our environment clean. Using reusable bags reduces the amount of oil we use and is an easy way for everyone to do their share for the environment.

Retailers, Labor, and Industry Reaction

As one of the largest grocers in the Northeast, Stop & Shop has a responsibility to minimize the impact that our business has on the environment, said Bob Hempson, Stop & Shop District Manager.

Stop & Shop stores recycle plastic carryout bags. Once collected, the plastics are back-hauled to our distribution center, where our recycling vendor uses the plastics to make composite decking (man-made lumber). Last year, we recycled more than 1,500 tons of plastics, said Hempson. Stop & Shop encourages customers to purchase and use heavy-duty, reusable grocery bags instead of plastic carryout bags.

Ernie Mattace, Local 338 RWDSU / UFCW Vice President said, We support Suffolks historic recycling program, and we recognize a grass roots solution is the only solution. Local 338 is committed to local steps to decrease American dependency on foreign oil, and Legislator Horsleys Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Measure is one step that reduces our dependence on foreign
Local 1500 applauds our employers such as Stop & Shop who have come to the forefront by supporting this measureand recognizing that in the age of Global Warming we need to try and educate consumers about the importance of recycling. Legislators Horsley and Browning have truly hit the mark with this effort, said Bruce W. Both, President, UFCW Local 1500.

Steve Rosario, director, Northeast Region, American Chemistry Council, stated, Plastic bags are a good environmental choice, they are energy-efficient, 92 percent of consumers re-use them and they can be recycled. Today, about 650 million pounds of plastic bags and film are recycled annually. This material is recycled into bags or other products like plastic decking and fencing. This legislation will help increase plastic bag recycling and help protect the environment. We commend Legislator Horsley for his work on this issue.

Environmental Reaction

This legislation represents a workable solution to a complex problem, said Marcia Bystryn, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. Plastic bags create an environmental dilemma that we cannot ignore. This legislation makes it easier for consumers to make responsible choices, while not creating an unfair burden on supermarkets.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, stated, A program is needed to conserve our dwindling natural resources that plastic carryout bags consume, and to shift the American mindset from a disposable society to a sustainable society. Suffolk County plastic carryout bag reduction and recycling initiative is much needed and will benefit supermarkets, consumers, the economy, and the environment.

Plastic Bag Legislation Around the United States

San Francisco, CA became the first city in the nation to ban plastic carryout bags from large grocery stores and pharmacies in March 2007. Other municipalities considering a ban include: Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Maui County, HI; New Haven, CT; Phoenix, AZ; and

Suffolk County is the first county in New York State to adopt a plastic carryout bag recycling initiative, and among the first municipalities to emphasize recycling in lieu of a complete ban.


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[here below is the legislation submitted by Tyner on this-- modeled after Suffolk law]


WHEREAS, there was duly presented and introduced to this County Legislature at a meeting held on_ , 2008, a proposed local law entitled, "A LOCAL LAW TO ESTABLISH AN AT-STORE RECYCLING PROGRAM FOR PLASTIC BAGS"; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that said local law be enacted in form as follows:




Section 1. Legislative Intent.

This Legislature finds and determines that each year an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide, and billions of these bags end up as litter each year. In the United States alone, retail checkout counters distribute about 100 billion plastic bags, and it takes approximately 35 million barrels of oil to produce them.

This Legislature further finds and determines that most plastic carryout bags do not biodegrade which means that the bags break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil and waterways and enter into the food web when animals accidentally ingest those materials.

This Legislature further finds that plastic shopping bags are relatively resource efficient, reusable and 100 percent recyclable, that recycling plastic bags is a robust and growing industry across the United States, the number of programs that recycle plastic bags is increasing daily, that millions of pounds of plastic bags are recycled each year into durable outdoor decking and low-maintenance fencing.

This Legislature also finds that plastic bags are a relatively resource efficient choice as they require 40 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags, require 91 percent less energy to recycle pound for pound compared to paper, and produces 70 percent fewer air emissions than manufacturing paper bags.

This Legislature hereby finds and determines that any incidental costs of the recycling program established by this law are outweighed by the benefits to the environment from the increased recycling of plastic bags.

This Legislature hereby also finds that the proposed recycling program furthers New York State policy which favors programs that maximize material reuse and recycling and programs that use energy efficient recycling processes.

Therefore, the purpose of this law is to encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers, to reduce the consumption of single-use bags, and to require an at-store recycling program for plastic bags.

Section 2. Definitions.

As used in this law, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

OPERATOR shall mean a person in control of, or having daily responsibility for, the daily operation of a store, which may include, but is not limited to, the owner of the store.

PLASTIC CARRYOUT BAG shall mean a plastic carryout bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale and which is composed of LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene), LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene), MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene) or HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).

REUSABLE BAG shall mean:

a.) a bag made of cloth or other machine washable fabric that has handles; or
b.) a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mils thick and is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.

STORE shall mean a retail establishment that provides plastic carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a consumer good, and ten thousand square feet or more of the store's selling area floor space is used for the sale of consumer goods.

Section 3. At-Store Recycling Program.

The operator of a store shall establish an at-store recycling program pursuant to the provisions of this law that provides an opportunity for members of the public to return to the store clean plastic carryout bags from any source.

Section 4. Requirements.

An at-store recycling program provided by the operator of a store shall require:

a.) A plastic carryout bag collection bin to be placed at or near the entrance to each store and such bin shall be highly visible and indicate that the bin is intended for recycling and not for the discarding of garbage; such collection bin shall be easily accessible to the consumer; and such collection bin shall be clearly marked that the collection bin is available for the purpose of collecting and recycling plastic carryout bags only.

b.) That all plastic carryout bags collected by the store are to be collected, transported and recycled in a manner consistent with all applicable laws or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this law.

c.) The operator of the store having twenty thousand square feet or more of the selling area floor space used for the sale of consumer goods, shall make reusable bags available to customers within the store, which may be purchased and used in lieu of using a plastic carryout bag or paper bag.

Section 5. Penalties.

Any operator who violates any provision of this law shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($250.00) for a first offense; by a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for a second offense; and by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for a third and each subsequent offense committed in any twelve month period.

Section 6. Rules & Regulations.

The Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Consumer Affairs shall promulgate any rules and regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate for the implementation and enforcement of any provisions of this law.

Section 7. Applicability.

This law shall apply to all actions occurring on or after January 1, 2009.

Section 8. Reverse Preemption.

This law shall be null and void on the day that Statewide or Federal legislation goes into effect, incorporating either the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this law, or in the event that a pertinent State or Federal administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations pre-empting such action by the County of Dutchess. The County Legislature may determine via mere resolution whether or not identical or substantially similar statewide legislation has been enacted for the purposes of triggering the provisions of this section.

Section 9. Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this law or the application thereof to any person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such order or judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, or part of this law, or in its application to the person, individual, corporation, firm, partnership, entity, or circumstance directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgment shall be rendered.

Section 10. SEQRA Determination.

This Legislature, being the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) lead agency, hereby finds and determines that this law constitutes a Type II action pursuant to Section 617.5(c)(20), (21), and/or (27) of Title 6 of the NEW YORK CODE OF RULES AND REGULATIONS (6 NYCRR) and within the meaning of Section 8-0109(2) of the NEW YORK ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION LAW as a promulgation of regulations, rules, policies, procedures, and legislative decisions in connection with continuing agency administration, management and information collection. The Dutchess County Attorney's office is hereby directed to circulate any appropriate SEQRA notices of determination of non-applicability or non-significance in accordance with this law.

Section 11. Effective Date.

This law shall take effect immediately after filing in the Office of the Secretary of State.

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Latest Signatures

  • 28 August 201550. Kerri K
    This is a very reasonable step that won't hurt retailers, it will only help them differentiate themselves to discerning customers. Address; Zip Code 37 Arnett Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572
  • 14 August 201549. K H
    This is a good move for our environment. Address; Zip Code 12601
  • 18 March 201548. Laura S
    plastic bags should be abolished Address; Zip Code 14 peacock rd, rhinebeck, ny 12572
  • 07 February 201547. Elizabeth S
    I think we should all be moving towards using cloth/reusable bags. Address; Zip Code 2 Upper Hook Road, Rhinebeck NY 12572
  • 24 October 201446. Amy S
    I support the Dutchess County Plastic Bag Recycling effort Address; Zip Code 105 Kelly Road; 12571
  • 07 October 201445. Mark Sm
    I support both recycling of plastic bags and especially the offering of reusable alternatives Address; Zip Code 41 Fraleigh St, Red Hook, NY 12571
  • 14 July 201444. Patricia C
    I support this petition Address; Zip Code 27 Rolling Hill Way, Red Hook, NY 12571
  • 24 April 201443. Jane K
    How about collection sites in schools, too? Address; Zip Code 41 Arnett Rd. Rhinebeck 12572
  • 18 October 201342. Kathy S
    I support this petition. I would also propose stores charging for plastic bags to encourage more people to bring their own bags to the places they shop. Address; Zip Code 12574
  • 08 October 201341. Sarah L
    I would love to recycle the shopping bags that pile up in my house. I use my own cloth bags when I remember, but sometimes it's not possible. Having a recycle option is a neccessity! Address; Zip Code 30 S Creek Rd, Staatsburg, NY 12580
  • 14 May 201340. Joanne E
    absolutely necessary Address; Zip Code 12572
  • 26 February 201339. Sheila M
    This is a good first step. I would eventually like to see a complete shift from disposable plastic and paper bags to reusable bags. Address; Zip Code 25 Upper Hook Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
  • 30 December 201238. Judy K
    Of course! Address; Zip Code 12514
  • 24 October 201237. Cynthia C
    Bags should be boidegradable at the very least and preferably eliminated and substituted with something durable.Billions of gallons of oil and ergo co2 emissions emitted through the production AND then recycling of the bags. Address; Zip Code 36 South St
  • 17 June 201236. Mary Ck
    This petition looks like a good idea. Way to go Joel Address; Zip Code 12572
  • 09 May 201235. Denise B
    We need to take this issue further, although at a national level would be more effective. These plastic bags should be banned, or if that is not possible, then they should be required to be manufactured from 100\% recycled plastic. Address; Zip Code 3 As
  • 23 March 201234. Shirl D
    thank you Address; Zip Code 4 Hamilton Drive 12571
  • 22 February 201233. Richard Rc
    recycle,recycle,recycle Address; Zip Code 3 Bowdoin Lane,Wappingers Falls NY 12590
  • 06 October 201132. Danny S
    required? By whom,and why,exactly? Address; Zip Code 12572
  • 29 September 201131. Cynthia P
    what could make better sense! Address; Zip Code 12574
  • 19 September 201130. Cary K
    every little bit helps Address; Zip Code 1 Wildey Road, Barrytown, NY
  • 26 June 201129. Patti G
    a good start Address; Zip Code 7575 Old Post Road, Red Hook, NY 12571
  • 21 June 201128. Harvey M
    Please protect our enviorment Address; Zip Code 12531
  • 05 May 201127. Marie H
    Thanks Address; Zip Code 32 Glen Ridge Rd, Red Hook, 12571
  • 27 March 201126. Catherine L
    please pass plastic bag recycling petition. a ban would be even better! Address; Zip Code 71 Williams Rd,Red Hook 12571
  • 31 December 201025. David E
    it's a great start Address; Zip Code 35 Slocum Rd Beacon, NY 12508
  • 26 December 201024. Jane C
    This recycling project is an absolute must, and nothing could be easier for concerned citizens. Address; Zip Code 5E Village Green, Rhinebeck, NY 12572

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