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Suffolk County Legislators Approve 5-Cent Fee For Single-Use Plastic Bags

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The Suffolk County Legislature on Wednesday approved a measure to impose a fee for single-use plastic bags.

Under the bill, a 5-cent fee will be issued for the use of single-use bags. The legislation is intended to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

Suffolk County is hoping for a 75 percent reduction of single-use bags within three years.

"Plastic bags are a mistake of the past. Reusable bags are the solution for the future," said Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer (D-Centerport). "This legislation will reduce plastic bag use by 60 percent or more and that will make our communities and our bays cleaner and greener, and save us money."

New York City passed similar legislation in May. The City Council voted 28 to 20 to approve a bill that would require shoppers to be charged 5 cents for both paper and plastic bags.

The stores get to keep the money and can charge even more if they want to.

The law is set to take effect in October, but enforcement wouldn't begin until next April.

Some New York state lawmakers said in May that they will fight the law – pushing for a statewide policy to prevent the city and other municipalities from enacting taxes or fees for the use of plastic and paper shopping bags.

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