RYE, N.Y. - The plastic bag ordinance approved by the Rye City Council in early December went into effect on Monday forcing the city's vendors to switch from traditional plastic bags to the more environmentally friendly paper 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.
Vendors along Purchase Street in Rye expressed mixed emotions about the ordinance. Blush owner Anna Sobalavarro said that while she's in favor of what the switch can do for the environment, she's concerned about the cost impacts on her business.
"When they brought the petition around I was one of the first persons to sign it," Sobalavarro said. "I have nothing against it, I think if we all do that the planet will be much better."
Sobalavarro said she hopes people start to bring their own reusable bags.
Matt Stallsworth, a manager at Rye Running Company, said he was in favor of the switch and hopes to see other communities follow Rye's lead.
"I think it will be beneficial once everybody switches over," Stallsworth said. "(Paper bags) are better quality and easier to reuse and recycle."
There are some stores like Havana Jeans and Bubbles and Tweet that have used paper bags for years. Helen Alexander of Bubble and Tweet said that she supports the ordinance but empathizes with vendors like Sobalavarro.
"It is true, it does cost more money," Alexander said. "I do appreciate how people are feeling."
Alexander added that she's been noticing more and more shoppers carrying reusable bags around the city.
"We're getting a lot more of that which is nice," Alexander said.
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