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Rye City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ordinance

RYE, N.Y. – The Rye City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday evening that prohibits the use of disposable plastic bags at the point of sale by all Rye retailers. Instead, retailers must provide "only reusable bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers.”

The ordinance, which is the first of its kind in Westchester County, was proposed by the Rye Sustainability Committee and was passed unanimously by the City. The ordinance will take effect on May 7, 2012. Sara Goddard, chair of the committee, said she was thrilled with the result.

"As the first community to pass this type of legislation in Westchester County, it is a tremendous success for Rye and the environment," Goddard said.

Suzanna Keith, city council liaison, echoed Goddard's sentiment.

"We are so happy to be the first community in Westchester to pass this legislation," Keith said. "Many thanks goes to our Rye Sustainability Chair Sara Goddard and her amazing and talented team of volunteers."

The ordinance states that it intends "to improve the environment in Rye by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags and banning the use of plastic bags for retail checkout." The ordinance also says many pollutant hazards caused by non-biodegradable plastic bags.

The ordinance applies only to plastic bags at the point of sale and exempts thin film bags used for produce and deli products, garment bags used by dry cleaners, large plastic bags used to enclose artwork, and thick bags made from "durable plastic.”

The ordinance also does not apply to any other type of plastic, such as plastic containers, cups, utensils and bottles.

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