Southold Town hosting forum to discuss plastic bag ban

Recycylable grocery bags. (file photo)
Recycylable grocery bags. (file photo)

Should Southold Town ban local retailers from supplying plastic bags to customers?

That is the question the Town Board is discussing during a public forum scheduled for Thursday, July 17. 

Members are set to discuss the details of the forum during the board’s work session Tuesday morning.

While Town special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz said the logistics of the forum are still being worked out, the basic plan is to have a group of panelists — including representatives from Southold Business Alliance, Group for the East End, North Fork Environmental Council and  North Fork Audubon Society — address the pros and cons of adopting the ban. The public will then be able to weigh in on the proposal.

The forum comes as East End Supervisors and Mayors Association members recently pitched a regional bag ban following the success of a similar law passed by Southampton Village in 2011, which was subsequently lauded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

That measure states that “any person engaged in retail sales shall provide only reusable bags and/or recyclable paper bags as checkout bags to customers,” and exempts plastic produce bags or plastic bags measuring 28 by 36 inches or larger in size. Fines range from $100 to $250 per offense.

The forum will be scheduled for Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.