Plastic bag ban won't be proposed again in Madison County, for now...

Proposal to ban plastic bags in Madison County tabled while supervisors reach out to private partners. (FILE)

A proposal to ban plastic carryout bags in Madison County won't happen in the near future after a majority of the Board of Supervisors agreed they would rather look into other ways to curb plastic bag usage first.

Madison County leaders have been toying with the idea of banning plastic bags given out by grocery and convenience retailers since 2017. The proposed legislation claimed that even when plastic bags are properly disposed of they can still take between 500-1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Supporters think the lack of bags in lakes, rivers, and streams will help to control flooding in the area thereby improving the safety, health, and welfare of Madison County's citizens.

The ban was to apply to any store that "is engaged in the sale of personal. consumer or household items," including grocery stores, department stores, hardware stores and convenience marts. Consumers instead would be encouraged to use reusable bags.

Public hearings in 2017 drew people from both sides of the issue. Many environmentalists came out in favor of the ban, businesses did not.

In October, members of the Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling Committee decided to pull the proposal in the hope that Governor Cuomo would institute a state ban. However, a task force did not take an official stance.

"We've taken more public comment on this issue than any other in my time as a supervisor," Supervisor Jim Goldstein said Tuesday at a committee meeting. Goldstein, who represents Lebanon on the Madison County Board of Supervisors, was the local law's initial sponsor.

Goldstein was looking to reintroduce the proposal to the board but was met with opposition. Several supervisors expressed an all-out ban would not change the culture and peoples reliance on plastic bags.

"I can't support this at all because of the way this has been handled," board chairman John Becker said. "If you want to change this culture it's going to take time to do it. It would be a great partnership to do it with somebody in the grocery business."

Becker detailed that Price Chopper's Mona Gulob reached out to the county to say the company would be willing to come up with alternative solutions.

"We have too much accountability in the equation and we must be are willing to work with leaders in Madison County to find a solution that can be a model for New York State," Mona Gulob, VP Public Relations & Consumer Services, said. "An all-out ban right now on disposable bags would likely not work."

Gulob detailed that fewer than 10% of Madison County residents are using their own reusable bags at her stores.

"Consumers need more education on this subject before this ban will work," Gulob said.

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