The Examiner

Reusable Bag Initiative Sought in Mount Kisco

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The Mount Kisco Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) urged village officials to pursue a reusable bag initiative that would significantly reduce single-use plastic and paper shopping bags that harm the environment.

Council member Alan Antin appealed to the village board for local legislation that would sharply reduce plastic and paper bags that are typically thrown away by shoppers after one use. For communities that have adopted similar measures, business has not been hurt, he said.

Antin said the CAC, which is working with Bedford on the initiative, wants the village to encourage the use of reusable bags with handles for repeated shopping trips by residents. The CAC is advocating that groceries and convenience and drug stores be required to charge customers 10 cents for each paper bag, Antin said. That fee would be kept by the stores.

The widely used disposable plastic bags are not biodegradable, thereby endangering the environment. The single-use bags also shed chemical particles that are found in the food chain and in humans, litter beaches and waterways, require the used of fossil fuels to be produced and are costly to clean up.

Under the CAC plan, bags for meat and produce, newspapers, dry cleaning, greeting cards and prescriptions at pharmacies would not be banned, Antin said. Restaurants, delis, boutiques and liquor stores would not be required to charge a paper bag fee, he said. Any bag fee must be specified on customers’ receipts.

The proposal is “a pro-business” initiative, Antin said. New Castle and many other communities have implemented the bag ban without negative impacts on merchants.

Antin said the ban would be extended to paper bags because to produce the 10 million of those that are used every year requires 14 million trees to be leveled. It also expends more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to make a plastic bag and excessive levels of water and chemicals are needed, he said.

CAC members have recently met with local store owners who have expressed support for the initiative. ShopRite on North Bedford Road, which also supports the proposal, distributed free reusable bags when the group met with supermarket representatives in September, Antin said.

Trustee Peter Grunthal said he backs the proposal, but shoppers would need to be educated about the initiative if approved by the village.

“We do need a period of adjustment,” he said.

Mayor Michael Cindrich said similar laws has been well-received on Long Island where residents are concerned about plastic bags littering beaches.




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