Suffolk County bill targets plastic advertising bags

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By Karl Grossman

A bill making it illegal to place plastic bags stuffed with advertising material onto streets, lawns and driveways in Suffolk County was approved by the County Legislature this week and it headed to Executive Steve Levy for his consideration.

The measure, unanimously favored by the lawmakers at a meeting in Hauppauge on Tuesday, was authored by Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher who said she got the idea because “I walk every day and I pick up those plastic bags that collect along the curbs.”

Ms. Viloria-Fisher said she regularly picks up plastic bags containing advertising material when she takes her daily 1¼-mile walks and brings them back to her East Setauket home. “I recycle the paper, if it has not dissolved into oatmeal,” she said, “and put the plastic bags in with the plastics to be recycled.”

Ms. Viloria-Fisher said with the county recently enacting a law seeking to reduce the distribution of plastic bags by supermarkets and “trying to do something about litter, we shouldn’t have plastic bags being thrown onto the street.”

The bill “prohibit[s] persons from throwing, casting or dropping unsolicited advertising handbills, circulars, flyers and brochures, wrapped in plastic, onto the streets, lawns and driveways of Suffolk County.” Violations would be punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for 15 days—“or both for each offense.”

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