As several Tompkins County lawmakers consider the pros and cons of a countywide ban on plastic bags, one local grocery store manager is offering his thoughts.
John Petito is the store manager of Neighborhood Pride Grocery Store, and says it would cost him at least a nickel a bag by switching from plastic strictly to paper, a cost he says would add up significantly over time.
The proposed ban also contains a provision which recommends that retailers be required to charge customers a small fee—roughly between 2 and 5 cents—for using recyclable paper bags.
Petito considers that part of the ban unfair.
“If this does pass, of course we will abide by it,” Petito said. “But I don’t foresee charging people extra for bags if we can absorb it. If we can’t absorb it, then we’re going to have to [charge them].”
Petito recommends that county lawmakers gather feedback from small business owners that would feel the economic brunt of the ban the most.
“There’s a lot of stores that may really feel the bite on this,” he said. “It might be good to have input from all the small businesses.”
The ban does contain some exceptions. Stores with less than 5,000 square feet of retail space would not be subject to the law, and plastic bags for in-store products would be exempt.