Will Bedford ban plastic shopping bags?
No, but the town has an enthusiastic plan to reduce the use of plastic bags in our stores starting April 1, 2019. The strategy, signed into town law in June, is “simple and straightforward: it is not a ban. Instead, there will be a fee to purchase and use any single-use paper or plastic bag,” says Chris Burdick, Town Supervisor. “The fee is a dime. That said, we don’t want anyone to have to pay a dime.” The town wants shoppers to use a reusable bag instead. Back in 2004, Bedford’s Recycling Committee commissioned a canvas bag picturing the iconic Bedford Oak and—along with support and promotion from Bedford 2020, local businesses, and shops—these bags will be available all across town.
The fee-per-bag law only applies to stores with more than 5,000 square feet of retail space, but it is hoped all smaller stores will follow suit. The approach is modeled on the success in Suffolk County, where retailers and environmentalists found this way to be more effective (a ban on plastic saw the use of paper bags soar instead as a quick, but not environmentally sound, replacement).
Bedford is a town that is proud of its green credentials. “We were recycling before our time,” says Lisbeth Fumagalli, Town Clerk. A recycling committee was founded in 1990 before many other towns caught on. “Now our biggest task is to make residents really use their reusable bags,” says Filippine de Haan, chair of the newly formed and permanent Reusable Bag Task Force. bedfordny.gov/green-initiatives