East Hampton Village is the second municipality on Long Island...

East Hampton Village is the second municipality on Long Island to ban plastic bags. Credit: Newsday file photo, 2008

East Hampton Village Wednesday becomes the second municipality on Long Island to ban plastic bags, and supermarkets and other stores have prepared for the change by stocking up on paper bags and heavy-duty plastic bags made for repeat use.

In the Waldbaum's on Newtown Lane -- one of the biggest users of plastic bags in the village -- signs are up announcing the change, which excludes bags used for produce. The store's manager said most customers approve of the change.

Shoppers can buy the heavy-duty carry bags at three for $2 or purchase a paper bag for a nickel. If they bring their own bags they can deduct 5 cents off their bill for each bag used.

At the East Hampton IGA supermarket, just outside the village line, manager Jamie Toscaii said his store will continue to use plastic bags but will consider giving a discount to customers who bring their own bags. "It's a good promotion," he said.

Industry officials generally prefer plastic bags because they are cheaper -- about a penny and a half per bag, compared with more than 5 cents for a paper bag -- and because they are less bulky, requiring less storage space.

Environmentalists point out that plastic bags are made from oil, while paper is a renewable resource. They also say plastic will not decompose for centuries, and that the bags are a hazard for animals and fish, which can swallow them or become trapped in them.

In November, Southampton Village became the first municipality in New York State to ban plastic bags. No other Long Island town has imposed a similar ban, although one was discussed late last year in Southampton town.

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