This Hudson Valley County Placed a Permanent Ban on Plastic Bags

The local community sets a new eco-friendly standard in the region.


This just in: plastic is passé.

That’s why Ulster County is saying a permanent goodbye to plastic bags. Beginning on July 15, 2019, the county’s new ban will prohibit single-use plastic bags, and any businesses that offer recyclable paper bags for purchase will be required to collect a fee.

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“I am proud that Ulster County has become a national leader in protecting our environment while simultaneously embracing critical financial protections,” declares Ulster County Executive Michael P. Hein.

While many counties already have paper and plastic bag recycling initiatives, Ulster County is now the first region in all of New York State to announce a comprehensive ban on the commonplace plastic totes. Of course, it won’t do away with them immediately. To ease the change, the county plans to implement a six-month educational transition beginning in July and ending in January 2020. After that, enforcement on the ban will kick into full effect.

“Every year New Yorkers use more than 20 billion plastic bags, and just two weeks ago the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world has 12 years to act to prevent catastrophe,” notes Ulster County Legislator, District 16, Tracey Bartels. “This bill is the result of years of diligent effort and its effect will be felt for generations.”

On a larger scale, the initiative loops into the ongoing environmental stewardship plan in Ulster County. While the plastic bag ban is one of the most visible changes in the region, other noteworthy developments include the addition of a 1.9-megawatt solar array on top of a former Ulster landfill, the installation of nine electric vehicle charging stations, and the conversion of all Ulster County Area Transit buses to biodiesel.

So, what are shoppers to do about the ban? Remember the three R’s, of course. While Ulster County takes care of the reduce part with its elimination of plastic bags, local shoppers can reuse and recycle by bringing their own totes to the store or by paying five cents to use a recyclable paper bag. Said fee will be waived for individuals receiving SNAP and WIC within the county.

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Are you ready to B.Y.O.B. (bring your own bag) or are you all in favor of the convenience of plastic? Let us know in the comments or send us an email to

Related: Hudson Valley Colleges Think Green With Environmental Initiatives

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