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Sea Cliff approves ban on carry-out plastic bags in stores

Starting in April, customers will have to bring their own shopping bags or pay five cents to purchase one at stores.

George Gramaglia, owner of Dreams East in Sea

George Gramaglia, owner of Dreams East in Sea Cliff, says he supports a new village law requiring stores to charge customers a fee for carry-out plastic bags. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Conrad Williams Jr.

Stores in Sea Cliff will soon begin charging customers a fee for carry-out plastic bags after the village board unanimously voted to implement the new policy.

“We really care about our environment and want to reduce our carbon footprint,” village board Trustee Dinah Epstein said. “We are a waterfront community, and we want to protect our waterfront from plastic pollution.”

The new bag policy will begin on April 22, in celebration of Earth Day.

Shoppers in Sea Cliff will be charged “no less than five cents for each carry-out bag provided,” according to the new law. The money collected will be kept by the businesses.

“It is my belief that the incorporated Village of Sea Cliff, which is one of 64 incorporated villages in Nassau County, will be the first village to actually consider and perhaps pass this legislation,” Mayor Edward Lieberman said at last Monday’s village board meeting.

In Nassau County, the City of Long Beach also charges a fee for plastic or paper carry-out bags in city stores.

At a public hearing before the vote, residents spoke in favor of the new policy and praised the board for educating people about conservation. The village earlier this month screened “Bag It,” a movie about the environmental impacts of using plastic products.

George Gramaglia, owner of Dreams East in Sea Cliff, supports the new law and said he will begin selling reusable bags at the store.

“It’s a matter of educating customers,” Gramaglia said. “This is something that the environment needs.”

Exceptions to the new bag policy include produce, meat, loose baked goods, loose dry goods, dry cleaning, newspaper delivery, liquor store purchases, and flowers. Bags provided by a doctor, pharmacist or veterinarian to carry prescription drugs are also not included in the five cent fee.

Businesses that do not cooperate with the new law will receive a notice of violation for the first offense, a fine of up to $100 for the second, and a fine of up to $200 for each subsequent offense.

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