Plastic one-use shopping bags are everywhere.
Plastic one-use shopping bags will be illegal on the South Fork beginning next week.

There are now less than two weeks left before single-use plastic shopping bags become illegal in the town of Southampton, and the town is in the midst of a public information campaign to raise awareness about this code change.

Southampton and East Hampton towns both voted in December to ban the use of single-use plastic grocery store bags, but while the Southampton rule will go into effect on Earth Day, April 22 of this year, the East Hampton rule isn’t slated to go into effect on Sept. 22, 2015, five months after Earth Day.

In both towns, any retailer caught breaking the ban will be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 15 days.

Villages within both towns have also enacted bag ban legislation, in an attempt to encourage residents to bring their own bags when shopping on the South Fork.

Southampton Town has begun a campaign titled “We Bag to Differ” to ensure the public and businesses are informed about the transition away from plastic bags.

Southampton’s Sustainability Committee is available to host or sponsor reusable bag giveaways, provide signage, or distribute literature at retailers throughout town as the transition gets underway.

Retailers who are interested in becoming involved with this public awareness program can call 702-2440 or email the town at

More information on the bag ban is available online here.


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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