The following is a letter to MyRye.com from Sara Goddard, chair of the Rye Sustainability Committee:
I am the chair of the Rye Sustainability Committee (RSC), a municipal sub-committee of the City of Rye, dedicated to working with City Council on important environmental issues that affect our community.
As MyRye reported last week, our committee has put forth a proposal for a retail shopping bag ordinance which would prohibit the use of certain kinds of plastic retail shopping bags. This proposed ordinance is part of a wider campaign by the RSC to promote the use of reusable bags in Rye.
We were inspired by recent highly successful legislation of some of our neighboring coastal communities, including, Westport, CT, Southampton and East Hampton, NY, and Chestertown, MD. All of these municipalities have passed legislation virtually identical to what is being proposed for Rye, and the results have been favorable for residents, merchants and the environment. A public hearing for the proposed ordinance is scheduled for 11/16 at City Hall.
I noticed from comments to your post of 10/18, that there is some confusion about the proposed ordinance, and thought it would be helpful to forward a FAQ sheet, in addition to the following information about this RSC campaign:
Reuse instead of Dispose: This proposed ordinance is about a change of life-style. With a recycling rate of less than 10% of all recovered plastic, recycling can only be a short-term measure. In order to make a lasting impact on our environment, we need to reduce our over-all consumption of plastic at its source.
In addition, the RSC has been working over the last few months to raise awareness about the proposed ordinance:
- We have collected, to date, 76 signatures of support from Rye merchants and organizations. This represents more than half of all Rye businesses. We plan to collect more in the weeks ahead.
- We have met twice with the Rye Chamber of Commerce to explain the details of the proposed ordinance and to answer questions.
- We have presented background information to City Council on 10/5 and 10/19, in addition to speaking individually with City Council members and City staff about the proposed ordinance.
- We co-hosted the "Bag It" film/discussion evening on 10/21, with over 200 in attendance. The film and discussion following focused on the lasting problems of plastic in our environment and how we can take action to slow down the alarming increase in waste proliferation.
- Should the ordinance pass, we plan to work with the merchants to help them educate the public about bringing their reusable bags.
- We are available to discuss any aspect of the proposed ordinance with whomever is interested.
Thanks for your consideration and please let me know if you have any further questions about this issue.