TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Municipalities throughout Westchester County have begun discussions on whether they should ban the use of plastic grocery bags
Groups in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow have already looked at a possible ban , and more discussions are planned although village officials have not warmed to the idea.
The Sleepy Hollow Middle School Environmental Action Club met with Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell in February 2012 to discuss the issue. They also wrote letters to village officials encouraging a new law.
The Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council will host a discussion on plastic bags and bans on May 13 at Warner Library. A previously scheduled discussion was postponed because of snow.
Three municipalities have already passed laws banning plastic bags. The Rye City Council banned plastic bags in December. Vendors reported mixed feelings about the ordinance when it went into effect in May 2012.
According to the Clean Air Council, Americans use approximately one billion plastic non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags each year, only 12 percent of which were recycled in 2010.
"Almost every environmental consequence has a human health consequence, from wild fires to global warming to the use of plastics," said Patti Wood, of Grassroots Environmental Education. "Every little piece of plastic that ends up in the oceans, which is a great amount, and plastics persist because they don't break down easily. As plastic photodegrades, it becomes a magnet for toxic chemicals like persistent organic pollutants."
Eliminating plastic bags could have a big effect on a local level—old bags won't hang from tree branches, clog gutters and fill dumps.
"Any effort to reduce plastics in our environment is huge," Wood said. "It's really a heroic action that our communities are taking."