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Featured Letter to the Editor: New York State’s plastic bag ban

To the Editor:

Sunday, March 1, marked the beginning of the New York State ban on single-use plastic bags.

While this may initially cause an inconvenience to those of us accustomed to using them, in the long run, and with a little practice, we can make the transition.

What it basically entails — if you are not doing this already — is bringing along reusable tote bags when you are out shopping. They come in different shapes and sizes, some large and bulky for the heavy lifting, and others that fold up small enough to carry in a pocket. There are also small lightweight bags with pull string closures that came in multiple sizes that are available online and reasonably priced.

These bags can be washed, so they are excellent for carrying produce and other small items.

Bags that are exempt from the ban include those for uncooked and deli meat, newspapers, garments and Shelter Island town bags. Some Suffolk County businesses will have paper bags available for a fee.

The state has a public education campaign called “BYOBagNY” during the transition. While you may find yourself in a store with no bag of your own and end up carrying things out bagless, eventually it will become second nature to have a reusable bag handy.

Store owners and customers may find this inconvenient, but we can reassure ourselves that New York will no longer be annually putting 23 billion plastic bags into the environment that get incinerated or end up in landfills or bays and oceans where sea turtles and other marine animals can ingest them.


Member, Shelter Island’s
Green Options Committee