Update on the Local Reusable Bag Initiative

By Tucker Poux
Volume 69, Issue III

Briarcliff residents have recently felt the effects of Westchester’s reusable bag initiative, with more and more grocery stores adopting plastic bag fees. The reusable bag initiative, spearheaded by Westchester’s sustainability committee, has a goal of getting more people to use reusable bags at grocery stores across the county. Not only do plastic bags cost money to manufacture, but they also pay a heavy toll on the environment, polluting oceans and landfills where they can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Paper bags have proven to be an ineffective substitute, taking more than three times the energy to manufacture while also generating the sixth largest amount of industrial emissions in the US. Over 110 billion disposable bags are thrown away each year in the US alone.

The Reusable Bag Initiative is attempting to seek legislation from different towns that will place a fee on these disposable bags, encouraging more people to adopt the process of using their own reusable bags when going shopping. Towns across Westchester are considering adopting the fees proposed by the initiative, with Pleasantville being one of the most recent towns to adopt the policies.

Key Foods Marketplace, a short drive down Pleasantville Road, now has plastic bags as an option for shoppers as long as they are willing to pay the ten-cent fee per plastic bag. Key Foods owner Richard Grobman has been an avid critic of the law since it was proposed in Pleasantville in early 2018. The initiative has continued to be challenged by small business owners fearing that the proposed legislation would result in a decline in business as shoppers would be intent on going to stores without the plastic bag fee.

However, stores across Westchester, including DeCicco and Sons in Millwood, have noted the savings brought about by the initiatives, with DeCiccos citing that there store alone saves 12,000 plastic bags a week. Still, towns across the county are continuing to take steps in moving away from disposable bags, both plastic and paper, as a means of environmental protection.

Either way, the Reusable Bag Initiative has forced shoppers to think more environmentally friendly when going grocery shopping. Briarcliff is next in line when it comes to plastic bag fees, with The Briarcliff Sustainability Committee actively attempting to gain more support for the initiative within the community. So, don’t be surprised when you have to fork over a couple of dimes the next time you shop at your local super market.

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