Southampton Town adopts ban on plastic straws, stirrers and foam packaging

Source: Riverhead Local

Southampton Town adopts ban on plastic straws, stirrers and foam packaging


Posted: February 15, 2019
Originally Published: February 13, 2019

Food establishments in Southampton Town will soon be prohibited from offering customers plastic straws, stirrers and Styrofoam containers.

The Southampton Town Board yesterday unanimously adopted a code amendment to ban the products. The new law will take effect on May 8.

The new law, first proposed by Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, was recommended by the town’s sustainability committee which estimates that residents and visitors in the township discard nearly 20 million plastic straws and 8 million polystyrene cups per year — much of which washes up along the town’s beaches, according to town officials.

“This may be a small step but it’s a very important step,” Councilwoman Lofstad said in a press release. “Our environment is everything to us and anything we can do that’s not going to have harmful impacts on our businesses and residents is a no-brainer for me.”

The sustainability committee polled 85 food establishments and found 82 supported the ban, some had already stopped offering polystyrene “to-go” containers.

Under the law, restaurants will be permitted to keep a small number of plastic straws on hand for those with physical disabilities who require plastic straws.

Southampton Town banned single-use carryout bags in the town as of April 2015.

Neither Riverhead nor Southold town have adopted measures to restrict the distribution of single-use plastic and polystyrene items and plastic carryout bags. North Fork residents recently launched a public education and advocacy initiative to seek the adoption of such measures in Riverhead and Southold.

Suffolk County in 2016 adopted a law imposing a 5-cent fee on consumers who use single-use carryout bags. The measure, which took effect Jan. 1, 2018, greatly reduced their use in the county, according to the environmental advocacy group Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which conducted before and after surveys at grocery stores across Suffolk.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month announced his intention to seek legislation imposting a statewide ban on single-use plastic carryout bags.