Reusable Bag Initiative (RBI)

Members of Rye Sustainability Committee receiving the 2012 EPA Environmental Quality Award

Members of Rye Sustainability Committee receiving the 2012 EPA Environmental Quality Award

RBI Committee

  • Gretchen Crowley

  • Sara Goddard

  • Melissa Grieco

  • Birgit Townley

On December 7, 2011, Rye’s City Council voted unanimously for a retail shopping bag ordinance, banning the use of single-use, plastic shopping bags. The law was the first of its kind in Westchester County, but part of a broader national movement to eliminate unnecessary single use disposables from polluting our environment.

Members of the Rye Sustainability Committee initiated the reusable bag campaign, educated the community, drafted and advocated for the law. Although a local initiative, its success was heavily dependent on reassuring the community that the proposed legislation was not new or radical. RSC relied on guidance and support from the Rye community, but also from many key players outside Rye.

Rye Sustainability Committee received much recognition for its efforts, including nationwide media coverage and a 2012 EPA Environmental Quality Award.


Tips on How to Reduce Your Disposable Plastic Waste

Some easy ways to reduce your dependence on single-use plastic:

  • Bags. Bring your reusable bag with you! Some are small enough to be compressed into a pouch that can be popped in a purse, coat pocket or work bag.

  • Straws. Say “no thanks to straws”. Read more on the Sound Shore Last Straw page and consider making the SSLS pledge.

  • Bottles/Cups. Bring your own reusable bottle and avoid using plastic water bottles. And for hot beverages, a reusable mug is a simple way to reduce the number of take-out coffee cups and plastic lids.

  • Packaged Foods. Avoid packaged produce and food items that can be purchased package-free.

    • Purchase (or make your own) reusable produce bags or simply avoid using produce bags. (Do you really need a produce bag for a bunch of apples, grapes, carrots …?)

    • Use those glass jars and containers in your home and use them to shop for loose food and bulk items.

  • Storage. Avoid plastic wrap and storage bags. There are so many durable, reusable alternatives: glass jars, beeswax, parchment paper, and a variety of plastic-alternative products that you can buy.

And if you still have plastic in your home, recycle it! Where to recycle plastic? See RSC's Where Do I Recycle? guide.

Program Related

11/16/11 Video: Public Hearing on a Proposed Retail Checkout Bag Ordinance (Item 7)

12/7/11 Video: Continuation of Public Hearing and City Council Vote (Item 7)

11/16/11 Public Hearing Presentation to City Council Recommending the Establishment of a Retail Checkout Bag Ordinance


Answers about Plastic Bag Laws

How to Pass a Plastic Bag Ban

Lessons Learned

Poster Outlining Details of Rye Retail Shopping Bag Law