Erie County Legislature Majority shoots down $75K plastic bag study


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Paper or plastic? If Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has his way, he would get rid of plastic bags at grocery stores. But his proposed $50,000-$75,000 environmental study on a plastic bag ban was rejected by the county’s legislative majority.

The topic of banning or reducing plastic bags is happening all across the nation. But, Erie County republican legislators are saying they have larger issues at hand to spend money on.

Tricia Mekarski of Buffalo, said, “$75,000 for a study, for something they know they want to ban just does not make sense.”

Mekarski also thinks an outright ban is too harsh, she said, “Banning is a strong thing to do, I would say try to take the approach like Canada does where they charge you 10 cents per bag or something.”

In the 2016 State of the County address. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz took aim at plastic bags, and talked about their harm to the environment.

Most of the people we spoke to agree – that plastic bags usage should be enforced somehow.

Lauren Mitchell, said, “It’s just much better for the environment to not have them around, animals don’t have to eat them, fish don’t have to eat them, everything is just too much plastic as it is.”

But up to $75,000 for a study? Not everyone can agree on that.

Jared Allison said, “It sounds like a waste of $75,000 to me, I’m pretty confident that it’s well documented somewhere else, I don’t think we need to study it.”

Republican legislators say they sponsored an amendment that deleted Poloncarz’s request for a plastic bag study, and will put the money towards Erie Community College early retirement incentives.

Some people say, if you want to see the effects of plastic bags, just get out and look.

Mekarski said, “Just walking down the street, you can see plastic bags stuck in the trees, you don’t need to do a study, just look around you.”

Republican Legislators say if Poloncarz wants to study a ban on plastic bags, he can spend any amount under $10,000 without approval from the legislature. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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