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Southampton Town looks at plastic bag ban

Plastic bags on a checkout counter at a

Plastic bags on a checkout counter at a Stop & Shop. (April 4, 2008) Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler

Taking its lead from Southampton Village, Southampton Town is looking into banning its retailers from using plastic bags for customer purchases.

Southampton Village passed a law April 26 banning the use of the most common type of plastic bags, the first law of its kind in the state. Retailers have six months to comply or face fines of as much as $1,000. Plastic bags of a heavier weight are exempt, as are the plastic bags used on the fruit and vegetable aisles.

Sustainable Southampton, the town’s advisory committee on environmental matters, plans to present its research to the town board at a Friday work session. Tip Brolin, the committee’s chairman, said this will be the first time the matter has come before the town. Specifics have not been worked out, he said, but any legislation will be modeled on the village law.

None of the other four East End towns is considering such legislation, according to officials for those towns.

Many environmental groups applauded Southampton Village’s new law, but at least one supplier of paper and plastic bags, Center Moriches Paper Co., said a portion of the law mandating that paper bags must contain at least 40 percent of recycled materials cannot be met in many circumstances.

Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said the village could modify that part of the law if officials find it places an “undue hardship” on retailers.

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