Petition: Ban plastic bags in Saratoga Springs

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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— A group of Saratoga Springs-area residents are circulating a petition urging the City Council to ban disposable plastic bags in stores and markets in the city.

Nearly 400 people have signed the petition at in less than a week, said organizer Alex Chaucer.

Chaucer, a technology instructor at Skidmore College, said Monday that entire countries have banned or taxed the use of the common plastic bag like the ones used at supermarkets.

“We are just talking about the basic plastic supermarket bags,” Chaucer said. He said produce bags and heavier, larger plastic bags would not be part of the proposed bag ban.

“Say no to disposable consumer culture. I support the effort to reduce plastic bag usage and waste in Saratoga Springs, NY,” says the petition.

The petition notes that “on average plastic bags are used for 12 minutes, yet they will stick around for thousands of years as trash, polluting our waterways and harming animals.”

“It’s time to bring your own bag, Saratoga,” the petition said.

The alternative to the plastic bag is for consumers to bring their own fabric grocery bags to the market with them and use them to carry home their groceries.

San Francisco enacted the nation’s first plastic bag ban in 2007 with Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Aspen, Colo., and Hawaii following suit in recent years.

Chaucer said Rye in Westchester County adopted a plastic bag ban modeled after one enacted in Westport, Conn., the first such ban on the East Coast. Many West Coast cities have banned the use of the plastic bags.

He said Ireland bans or taxes such bags and in Washington, D.C., people must pay for their plastic bags, if they want them, and the money goes for the environmental cleanup of a river. He said plastic bags are banned in China and some African nations.

Last week, securing a plastic bag ban became a project of Sustainable Saratoga, a nonprofit, grass-roots organization that seeks to protect the environment for future generations, Chaucer said. A core group of about 10 local residents has been meeting in recent months to discuss the attempt to ban plastic bags.

“I’ve been involved with this since this summer,” he said.

Chaucer said he and others have met with Saratoga Springs City Council members and Mayor Scott Johnson regarding the issue.

“The outpouring has been amazing. As it keeps growing, it becomes more and more powerful,” Chaucer said about the petition drive that was nearing the 400 signature mark by Monday evening.

The plastic bag ban group wants to hold some public awareness events, including showing a documentary film and having a panel discussion about plastic bags and the environment.

“We also want to engage with local businesses,” Chaucer said.

The city of Austin, Texas, became the latest city to ban the disposable plastic bags last week.

Some shoppers in Austin were still angry that they had to either bring their own bags or pay for thicker plastic or paper bags in shops, The Associated Press reported. But Austin Resources Recovery, the city’s trash and recycling department, launched an $850,000 advertising campaign and offered free training for businesses to make a smooth transition to banning disposable plastic bags.

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March 5, 2013
1 a.m.
DakChili says...

Seriously? This is as stupid as NYC's ban on Soft Drinks. My plastic grocery bags are recycled for use as pet waste disposal containment units. If they are made out of recycled and bio-degradable materials then what's the problem?

March 5, 2013
1:12 a.m.
dan says...

I'm guessing the issue is people get more plastic bags than they can re-use. I tend to keep my plastic bags for re-use, but I've got about 1,000 of them in my closet now. Way more than I can use. Though... the issue would be getting consumers to remember to bring their own fabric bags. I certainly have those, I just often forget. And oh- just for clarification, there is no ban on soft drinks in NYC, just an upper limit on the single-serving size sugar drinks stores can sell. Far from a "ban".

March 5, 2013
7:22 a.m.
joseph4700 says...

Make the homeless and people who search for recycled bottles expand there recycleables search and include all types cans and plastic bag and containers. This would save our dump and get all these products containers reused. Oh! plastic drinking cups from the fast food companies take up a lot of space in the landfills. Let some of the big companies pay to put back our natural resources to reuse. This will clean up our streets and help out people to get that added income. Some people are lazy and DON'T recycle anything.

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