New York City’s recent decision to ban single-use styrofoam containers (which will go into effect on July 1st) was celebrated by many as a major step towards eliminating the ubiquitous but unrecyclable product. However, a small NY municipality has one-upped the big city by banning both plastic bags and foam food containers in one fell swoop. In fact, Hastings-on-Hudson is now the first New York town to prohibit both products.
Less than 8,000 people reside in the town of Hastings, but the small population has a large environmentally-friendly voice. On January 1st of this year, the Westchester County municipality joined the likes of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland in banning both plastic bags and foam food containers.
“The whole idea of unnecessary waste really bothered us,” said Kerry-Jane King, chairwoman of the village’s all-volunteer conservation commission, which began pressing the village Board of Trustees to consider the dual ban last year. “This seemed like an easy step to take.”
Hastings’ mayor, Peter Swiderski, says the community approved the new measure after the conservation commission convinced the town of the harmful and long-lasting effects that plastic bags have on the local environment, often littering the streets, clogging storm drains and harming wildlife. The commission also pointed out that in Hastings-on-Hudson as well as Westchester County, plastic bags or foam containers cannot be put into the local recycling bins. And although most supermarkets offer bins to recycle plastic bags, very few people take advantage of the service.
Although there have been some disgruntled customers who bristle at the thought of bringing their own reusable bags or paying 5 cents for a paper bag, the overall local response to the change has been quite positive. Many US cities have already banned plastic bags completely, however, only time will tell if New York City will follow Hastings’ green-minded lead. The New York City Council proposed new legislation last year that would see NY residents hit with a 10 cent surcharge for plastic bags, but there is no official city-wide ban yet.
Via The NY Times
Lead photo © Jasmine