Poloncarz aims to ban plastic bags in Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz wants plastic shopping bags out of Erie County.

He announced the proposal Thursday as part of his State of the County address, along with several other initiatives.

News 4 spoke to local shoppers, who are generally on board with the idea.

“I use them for cleaning up after my dog, but other than that I try to use my cloth bags for everything,” said Shannon Boswell of Buffalo.

“I think they’re a waste, they accumulate in landfills,” she continued.

WATCH | See Poloncarz’s full speech here. 

The proposal hasn’t made it to the County Legislature yet; it will have to get the green light before it moves forward.

If the initiative were be implemented in Erie County, it would be the first county in upstate New York to institute the ban; eight others in downstate New York and Long Island have put similar bans in place.

“There’s a couple of stores that don’t carry bags, give bags, so we do bring them. But it’s a real pain in the butt when you forget them,” Deja Bloom told News 4.

Tim Bartlett is the general manager of the Lexington Co-Op in Elmwood Village. He’s all about a ban on plastic bags.

“We give everybody a cloth bag when they join the Co-Op,” he said.

“As a consumer it’s just so easy to take a bag at the register when somebody offers you one. You really never think about the fact that it’s going to last forever,” Bartlett said.

If the proposal is OKed by the County Legislature, a study would be done to find suitable alternatives; offering plastic bags for a fee is one option.

The study would take about 10 months, and would cost the county $50,000.

A spokesperson for Poloncarz said the proposal will be reviewed by the County Legislature within the next month.

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