At a meeting of the Atlantic Beach village board on Dec. 11, the idea of implanting a five-cent fee on disposable plastic bags, similar to that passed by Long Beach in 2017, was broached by a resident. While village mayor, George Pappas, stated that the board has yet to discuss the idea, much less draft any resolution, he did say they would consider it.
Suffolk County implemented a similar plan on Jan. 1, and new Nassau County Comptroller, Jack Schnirman, was an advocate of Long Beach’s fee while serving as city manager. Long Beach was the first municipality in Nassau County to pass such legislation, and Schnirman believes it’s been a success. “Local store are using way less plastic bags,” he said, adding that carrying their own reusable bags has become part of the city’s culture.
Schnirman said that he would like to see the county legislature pass a law requiring all stores to start charging this sort of fee, but in the meantime it’s up to the villages to move forward.
He would also recommend outreach to help the public understand why they should pay five cents for plastic bags, or carry their own reusable ones. “We built community support for the measure through education and engagement,” he said. “Because of this we didn’t face any significant opposition.”
In 2016 Long Beach used 11 million single use plastic bags, Schnirman didn’t have the exact figures for 2017, but said that number has fallen drastically since stores began charging the five-cent fee.
Atlantic Beach could be discussing the issue at its Jan. 8 meeting on Jan. 8 at 7:45 p.m. The Monday meeting takes place at Village Hall at 65 The Plaza.