I would like to publicly thank Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and the Ulster County Legislature for signing and passing the “Bring Your Own Bag Act” of 2018 which will ban single-use plastic bags in Ulster County. The new law bans stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags, requires them to charge five cents for each recyclable paper bag provided to customers and goes into effect on July 15th, 2019. This is a visionary new law which not only cuts plastic pollution but also has amendments that will provide an exemption of the five cent fee for recyclable paper bags for recipients of SNAP (food stamps) and WIC so that there is not undue hardship for people who have low income. I am proud that we are the first county in New York to adopt local legislation that bans single-use plastic bags as a means of reducing the environmental impacts associated with plastic waste. I encourage everyone to start bringing your own reusable bag from home to begin to establish the habit and to model for others how easy it is. Put reusable washable bags in your car, purse or backpack to have ready for spontaneous purchases. The bag ban is not an end in itself but it is part of a culture change where we weigh the high cost of convenience on our planet and move towards reusing, repurposing and repairing.
New Paltz Climate Smart Coordinator
PS: Read more about this ban on the Ulster County website