East Hampton Town is considering banning thin-ply plastic bags, and is seeking input from the business sector as well as from members of the town’s litter and energy sustainability committees.
Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Tuesday that the supervisors and mayors of the eastern Suffolk towns have been discussing a regional ban, and that a rough draft of legislation is being circulated.
“This is the kind of issue that really should be done on a regional, county, or even state level,” Mr. Cantwell said at a town board work session. East Hampton Village adopted a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2011; the village of Southampton also has enacted a ban.
Nationwide, 133 municipalities have adopted such bans, said Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chair of the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee, a Southampton Town group, who attended Tuesday’s session. He urged the East Hampton board to take the lead in this area. “It’s a domino effect; everyone else will fall in line,” he said.
The Town of Southold hosted a recent forum on the issue, and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby suggested holding a similar event here. A film, “Bag It,” which illustrates the environmental impacts of the extensive use of plastic bags, could be shown at a forum or board work session, Mr. Cantwell suggested.
“When you look at what’s happening globally with plastic products in the environment . . . it’s having a devastating impact,” he said.
The bag ban in the village, where Mr. Cantwell served as administrator before running for town office, “worked well,” he said. “Whether it would work well on a townwide basis, given the number of retailers who would be impacted, it’s hard to say.”
Both Frank Dalene, chairman of the town’s energy sustainability committee, and Kathleen Kirkwood of the litter committee expressed support for a ban at Tuesday’s meeting. The town board will ask retailers and other business owners for their comments after the busy summer season is over, through groups such as the East Hampton Business Alliance and the Montauk Chamber of Commerce.