Reusable Bag Initiative
Westchester County is ripe for a shift in mindset concerning a single-use, disposable lifestyle. We have fallen into a linear consumption pattern – production, consumption, and disposal. The problem is that earth operates in a cyclical system, not a linear one.
Westchester is a progressive county, passing legislation such as local anti-idling laws and restricting the use of leaf blowers on County property and parks, should be a leader in the movement away from the disposable lifestyle. One of the first issues to tackle would be rampant use of single-use plastic bags.
Plastic bags, which are non-biodegradable, are often discarded improperly – with very few being recycled– and pollute the environment, clogging sewers and endangering wildlife. While education efforts are in place to target this issue, it is not enough to change habits that are considered a part of everyday life.
Because of these factors, FCWC is in support of a retail shopping bag ordinance, which would place a ban on disposable plastic bags.
FCWC is determined to show that making this shift is an action that every resident in the County can and should do. Our environment is precious, but we also know that economic stability is too. We believe that pursing such legislation is the long run solution for this problem.
Q: Why would we need a retail shopping bag ordinance?
A: Single-use, disposable plastic bags are a major source of litter and pollution in our environment. Most are never used more than once to transport goods from a store. An ordinance is part of a larger educational campaign to encourage the use of reusable bags, thereby contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment.
How to Pass a Single-Use Bag Ordinance
Learn how to green your town!
Click on the link below for a recap of an event on Single-Use Bag Ordinances, including tons of tips to get you started, no matter what kind of ordinance you're trying to pass!
Microorganisms do not recognize the plastic of single-use shopping bags as food, therefore it does not technically decompose. Instead these bags gradually turn into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic - a process that can take 1,000 years.
Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains about 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.
Only 1-3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
Per grocery shopping trip, the average United States household uses 60 plastics shopping bags.
City of Rye:
On December 7, 2012, Rye’s City Council voted unanimously for a retail
shopping bag ordinance, banning the use of single-use, plastic shopping
bags. The new law is the first of its kind in Westchester County, NY, but part
of a broader national movement to eliminate unnecessary single use disposables from polluting our environment.
Members of the City of Rye’s Sustainability Committee initiated the reusable bag campaign, educated the community, and advocated for the law. Although a local initiative, its success was heavily dependent on reassuring the community that the proposed legislation was not new or radical. We relied on guidance and support from the Rye community, but also from many key players outside Rye.
Take a look at some of the big take aways from Rye's experience:
It's been done before: